All types of packaging for transit – either shipping boxes or cartons are often manufactured from cardboard or corrugated board. They’re 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 priority for packing and moving goods around without damage now has the added requirements for it to be done sustainably.
Whilst sustainability looks different for each industry, organisations and brands are looking to a supply partner who takes sustainability seriously when it comes to supply chain logistics. The increase in the use of paper packaging for example is being driven by the ever-increasing demand for sustainable products by end-users and consumers.
It’s important to look at the widest impact of all materials, including recyclability. Switching to alternative, seemly more sustainable options can sometimes lead to extra issues, resulting in higher energy, water-use or increased CO2 emissions in production and transport. The argument is not a simple one pitting plastic versus paper. There are pros and cons to using both materials and we should be using them responsibly to ensure they are sustainable, recyclable, reusable and biodegradable.
Being more efficient and mechanising some parts of fulfilment can also deliver sustainability through reduced waste and better productivity.
Southgate Global is committed to developing a line of alternative products to expand its current range and drastically reduce packaging waste and plastic content. The company has launched the largest number ever of sustainable products from carton sealing, paper mailers and void fill, as well as machinery to increase productivity. Southgate has committed to introducing sustainable alternatives for all its key product lines.
When looking at the widest possible issue of sustainability and environmental impact, this includes automation too. Using equipment for case taping, stretch wrapping, shrink wrapping and strapping are processes where automation can significantly increase productivity, often while improving the end result and reducing material usage.
It has been reported that 150,000 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 Southgate offers a way for companies to reduce plastic wrapping by using Power pre-stetch pallet wrappers, where the turntable and robot can cut 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 plastic waste. Anti-slip sheets have a high-friction coating that further increases pallet stability and reduce the amount of strapping required.
Water activated tape (WAT), also known as gummed paper tape, is used instead of plastic tapes. As the need for sustainable solutions continues to grow in importance, WAT is only predicted to grow in demand.
A large volume of plastics used in packaging comes from carton sealing tapes. Even when it’s removed from cartons before the recycling process, it leaves behind adhesive residue that compromises the strength of the recycled cardboard and causes damage to screening and filtering at recycling plants.
One of the key reasons WAT is quickly growing in popularity for carton sealing is because it has near perfect eco credentials. It also outperforms conventional plastic tapes. Made from 100% recyclable, managed softwood and a natural starch adhesive, it is entirely biodegradable. It can also be left on cartons sent for recycling as the adhesive dissolves in the water used in the process, leaving behind no residue that will damage equipment or cause harm to the environment.