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Even if you are responsible for your organisation’s packaging, it may be surprising to discover that reusable packaging is often the most sustainable.
Reusable packaging typically includes totes, containers, plastic cases, pallets, trays and dunnage. Also referred to as returnable packaging, it allows for multiple uses over a prolonged period. Reusable packaging can be more sustainable than recyclable single-trip packaging, as it reduces raw materials and energy used in manufacturing and recycling processes.
However, GWP designs and manufactures both reusable and single-trip (recyclable) packaging. As such, we can provide you with genuinely impartial advice on the best solution for your business in terms of cost, performance and minimising environmental impact. This advantage is in addition to numerous other benefits, including expert design, short lead times, a vast range of packaging products and the highest level of customer support.
Is all plastic packaging harmful to the environment?
Single-use plastic packaging is undoubtedly bad for the environment. However, reusable packaging – such as tote containers that businesses use over multiple trips – can have less environmental impact than even recyclable single-trip packaging. This benefit is due to less material and energy to manufacture much higher volumes of expendable packaging.
What is opportunistic reuse?
Opportunistic reuse is where packaging initially intended to be expendable or single-use is used again for a different purpose. Common examples include corrugated cardboard boxes or lightweight wooden pallets. Most experts do not consider this type of reuse to be within the scope of reusable packaging.
What factors should I consider before switching to reusable packaging?
Deciding whether to switch to reusable packaging is a complex decision, with many factors involved. Considerations include the volume of shipments, whether you have a well-established return transit route (and if this has space on the return journey), what distances you move parts over, etc.
Is reusable packaging more expensive?
Although the upfront costs are higher, switching to reusable packaging typically reduces your costs over the mid to long term. You can see savings because – without the need to keep purchasing single-trip packaging – the cost per journey per container eventually falls below the level of the expendable packaging unit cost.
Are there times when reusable packaging isn't suitable or applicable?
Several obstacles may make switching to returnable packaging uneconomical and worse for the environment. For example, if you have no defined way to return the reusable containers. If you expect significant loss or wastage, this can be another reason to stick with single-trip options.
Reusable packaging experts
GWP Group has designed and manufactured tailored reusable packaging solutions for over 30 years.
However, a critical difference between us and our competitors is that we also design and manufacture single-trip corrugated packaging. This breadth of knowledge and product range means we can offer a genuinely impartial assessment of the type of packaging most appropriate for your business and provide a solution accordingly.
More than just sustainable packaging
GWP also undertakes many other environmental initiatives and practices. As a result, it ensures that whatever packaging you choose is manufactured efficiently, minimises material usage, does not create excessive waste or recycling requirements and – most importantly – is fit for purpose and cost-effective.
If you would like advice or guidance on switching to reusable packaging, and if this is the best option for your business, please speak with one of our experts today.