Peli™ Products Repeat-Use Packaging Makes The Supply Chain Green

Cardboard and paper account million tons of packaging waste in Europe

Corporate politics are slowly going green in Europe and this trend is already having a positive effect on environmentally sustainable business practices. Those efforts are being passed along to the general consumer with the development of hydrogen fuel vehicles, the increased interest in large-scale recycling and the mainstream growth of “green” buildings.

Now these tendencies are reaching all the way into the supply chain. Shipping is one of the main activities for all companies involved in this industry and product shipping materials contribute to a significant portion of packaging waste globally each year. According to a study of the European Environment Information and Observation Network (EIONET), European countries generate high percentages of packaging waste. Germany leads the ranking (15.43 million tons of packaging waste yearly and the 42.85% (6.61 million tons) of it is caused by the use of cardboard and paper). France generates 12.27 million tons of packaging waste and the 34.49% (4.23 million tons) is cardboard and paper. Italy generates 11.37 million tons of packaging waste and the 37.11% (4.22 million tons) is cardboard and paper; UK 9,897 million tons and the 37,89% of it cardboard and paper and Spain 6.37 million tons and the 47.83% (3.05 million tons) is cardboard and paper.

The sector is aware of its responsibility and therefore some firms have been offering new solutions that can be helpful to reduce the environmental impact of their activities. This is the case of Peli Products, renown for their development and manufacturing of indestructible Protector™ Cases, which is deeply involved in the supply chain.

The company is offering alternatives to make the traditional supply chain a little greener by changing the way electronics such as computers and sensitive equipment are shipped. They are providing their clients with more effective shipping solutions that have less impact on the environment while saving money and better protecting merchandise.

A recent study showed that 250 shipments using the reusable Peli Protector™ Cases generated less than 2.5 kilograms of waste, which is in stark contrast to the 170 kilograms of waste produced by the equivalent amount of cardboard boxes necessary for the same number of shipments.

Peli Cases are different in that they use an open cell-core, solid wall construction for durability; a watertight seal for protection against liquids and dust; as well as an automatic pressure equalization valve to protect the contents during air or high-altitude shipping. This superior packaging technology means that it can withstand countless shipments, and the products are less likely to be damaged in the shipping process. Additionally, reusable containers quickly cause the cost-per-trip to become less expensive than expendable packaging. High disposal fees incurred by expendable packaging are virtually eliminated. Companies not only save money by not having to replace expendable packaging, but also reduce non-value added labour costs, since there is no longer a need to set up and break down packaging.

“In Europe, shipping is a very important industry which is having a greater impact on the environment each year,” said Peli CEO Lyndon Faulkner. “Our company’s expertise in the development of high-quality and durable cases gives us the opportunity to provide companies with permanent shipping solutions and numerous benefits over traditional expendable cardboard containers.”

Reverse Logistics: a key point for European companies

Shipping has a high influence in the European market due to its business tradition. Most manufacturers and suppliers are aware of this and have started to care also about the take-back process of their goods. In this context, a new concept has appeared called Reverse Logistics.

It refers to the process of removing new or used products from their initial point in a supply chain, such as returns from consumers or over stocked inventory, among others. It requires packaging and storage systems that can ensure that the value of the goods is not lost due to careless handling.

In 1991 some European countries started to require shippers and manufactures to be responsible for the return and recycling of packaging materials. The European Union took this one step farther in 2001 by establishing a goal of 50-65% recovery or recycling of packaging waste. The implication for the rest of the world is that they have to be compliant if they want to do business with the EU.

This take-back process is especially important with the constant growth of the technology industry, as items like computer equipment are packaged in materials that typically cannot be reused, separated, or recycled. Multiple-material packaging impedes recycling and others, such as polystyrene, are generally made without recycled content and may be non-recyclable. As a result, disposal of this packaging is costly and further taxes the landfill system.

Success stories

In 2006, the U.S. parent company of Peli was able to develop shipping solutions for many technology manufacturers who lead the famous U.S. Fortune 500 ranking. These companies were suffering from many of their returns sustaining damages in-transit, resulting in increased repair costs and down time. Peli provided them with customized packaging solutions that better protected their products and were reusable for nearly endless amounts of trips, eliminating the cost associated with replacing expensive short-term shipping materials.

The benefits of a more permanent shipping solution were immediate. Environmental impacts were reduced; cost savings were realized in a short period of time (and continue to grow over the lifetime of usage); and significantly fewer damaged goods have meant a superior product presentation to the customer as well as reduced repair costs.

“By taking this permanent packaging model and replicating it across various industries, you realize the magnitude of difference this could make”, said Faulkner.