Packaging waste is a crucial issue regarding both businesses and consumers as their packaging waste accounts for roughly 40% of all solid waste. According to the US EPA, residential, commercial, and institutional users tend to generate more than 75 million tons of container and packaging waste annually, but only half of this waste is recycled completely whereas the other 37 million tons end up in a landfill.

    Here are six ways that distribution centers can reduce packaging waste:

    Optimize Your Packaging Space

    Extra packaging materials lead to extra weight and extra space being taken up which reduces the costs as well as the impact of the waste packaging material on the environment. Re-plan your packaging strategy so that more of your products can be packed with fewer uses of materials. By simply switching your packaging designs and using custom-sized boxes, you can save on both space and packaging material.

    Keep Your Packaging Materials Separate, or Stop Packaging Altogether

    Don’t mix any two packaging materials together as recycling them is really inconvenient because the materials have to be separated initially. If there is no choice and you have to mix the packaging materials, then make it easy for a“breakaway.” Stapling is a great alternative as the staples can easily be removed in the recycling process.

    Another alternative is to not produce waste packaging material altogether as this will reduce the waste that has to be recycled. Eliminating the packaging part completely is the best option as long as the products don’t get damaged in transit.

    Design Your Packaging to Minimize Waste

    This is usually the most cost effective way to reduce your impact on the environment. You can keep your design packaging to a minimum by deciding on a package shape that minimises the waste material. You can also opt to use computer-aided design systems to more efficiently plan the packages. Another great option is to use fewer large packages rather than several small ones.

    Efficient Use of Materials

    A lot of businesses nowadays are looking for ways to make their operations a lot more efficient as customers have become increasingly eco-conscious. Reducing your excess materials is a simple and effective way to start a green packaging initiative.

    Becoming a company that is eco-conscious and is also committed to following the environmental policies is the best way that you’ll gain the trust of your growing number of eco-conscious consumers. Here are two ways that will increase the efficient use of your materials:

    • Use Shredded Paper for Packaging
      Shredders are designed to shred up anything that is made of fibre hence you will generate a lot of packaging material that can be used as filling. Using this shredded paper is a much better and more practical way of packing and shipping your products.
    • Minimize the Amount of Materials Used in Packaging
      A lot of companies tend to over-pack their products for shipment with shrink wrap and extra padding whereas they should opt to use less packaging materials. You can better streamline your products by ordering boxes that are exact fits for your products instead of adding extra padding to accommodate the products. You can also opt to ship your company’s products in bulk which will save money on extra packaging costs.

    Provide Proper Training

    Waste is usually not disposed of properly as your employees probably don’t understand the processes that have been put in place. Make sure that your employees are given the proper training with the warehouse operatives to ensure that everyone has the same understanding in the workplace. Make sure to reward all eco-friendly efforts.

    Source Responsibly

    Source your supplies from a supplier who is eco-friendly at heart and uses recyclable material to pack your goods. You can cut your costs by cutting out the middle warehouse step altogether.

    Opting for a more sustainable and eco-friendly type of packaging adds a lot of value to both your company, as well as creating a loyal customer following.


    Erich Lawson is passionate about saving environment by effective recycling. He has written a wide array of articles on how modern recycling equipments can be used by industries to reduce monthly garbage bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about environment savings techniques by visitingNorthern California Compactors, Inc blog.

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