All types of packaging for transit – either shipping boxes or cartons are usually manufactured from cardboard or corrugated board and designed so that goods reach their intended recipient without damage.  As well as boxes, transit packaging also covers other key areas such as edge protection and pallet wrapping.

This number one priority for packing and moving goods from A to B without damage, now has the added requirements of sustainability.

These requirements can be very different according to sectors and specific industry, all organisations are looking for supply partners who take sustainability seriously when it comes to operational logistics and fulfilment.  The increase in the use of paper packaging for example, is being driven by the ever-increasing demand for sustainable, recyclable and biodegradable  products by consumers.

It is important to look at the widest impact of all materials. This includes both the carbon footprint and environmental impact of their manufacture, but also their recyclability. Switching to alternative, seemly more sustainable, options can sometimes lead to additional issues, resulting in the very opposite of the desired outcomes. Higher energy use, great water-use or increased CO2 emissions in production and transport. The argument is not a simple as pitting plastic versus paper, for example.  Although there are many disadvantages to using both materials, the advantages they still provide (for example in reducing the risk of cross contamination for medical products, or reducing food waste and keeping food fresh),  we should be reducing the use of single-use plastics and using other options responsibly to ensure they are all sustainable, recyclable, reusable, biodegradable and reduce landfill.

Being more efficient and mechanising some parts of fulfilment can also deliver sustainability through reduced waste and better productivity.

As one of Europe’s leading packaging suppliers, we are committed to developing a line of alternative products to expand our current range and significantly reduce packaging waste and plastic content.  In the last two years, we have launched the largest number ever of sustainable products from carton sealing, paper mailers and void fill, to repairing, repurposing and renovating existing equipment such as carts, trolleys and packaging products or introducing new machinery to increase productivity.

In fact, we have committed to introducing sustainable alternatives for all of our key product lines. Our recent sustainable product introductions include:

  • Ensuring our plastic strapping is made of a minimum of 30% recycled material
  • 100% biodegradable WAT & lower energy WAT tape dispensers
  • Recycled plastic and paper void fill pillow packs
  • Paper, sealable mail bags
  • Self-adhesive kraft paper tapes and masking tapes – made from natural wood pulp and environmentally-friendly hot melt adhesive
  • Power pre-stretch pallet wrappers can slash film usage by up to 75%
  • A fully recyclable cardboard strap

As this list makes clear, looking at the widest possible issue of sustainability and environmental impact includes automation too.  Using equipment for case taping, stretch wrapping, shrink wrapping and strapping are processes where automation can drastically increase productivity, often while improving the end result and reducing material usage.

It has been reported that 140,000 tonnes of pallet stretch wrap is used annually in the UK. Plastic stretch wrapping film is a major contributor to packaging waste.  That is why we offer an opportunity for companies to reduce or eliminate plastic wrapping by using power pre-stretch pallet wrappers, where the turntable and robot can slash film usage by up to 75%.  This can also be combined with edge boards to protect the edges of the pallet load from chafing. Strapping can entirely replace film, resulting in a drastic reduction in waste plastic. Our anti-slip sheets have a high-friction coating that further increases pallet stability and reduces the amount of strapping needed.

In terms of equipment, we launched the new Water Activated Tape Case Taper. Water activated tape (WAT), also known as gummed paper tape, can be used instead of plastic tape to reduce environmental impact. As the need for sustainable solutions continues to grow in importance, demand for WAT continues to rise. However, this rising demand does not to have to result in rising costs as some users have experienced. We anticipated this growing need and now sources WAT tape at up to 50% less than other options our customers were using – and all manufactured to the same specifications and quality.

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