To Green Your Supply Chain, Start with Packaging

Just about everything these days is still overpackaged. From the software DVD that comes in a box big enough to hold 20 to 50 of them to the laundry detergent that takes a box at least twice as large as necessary as it is not concentrated to even the bottle you’re drinking your water from, everything is overpackaged. The water bottle is a good case in point. You’re probably thinking this is probably the most compact packaging there is as, at least in this case, it’s usually 95% to 98% full, in addition to being light. However, in many cases, better technology can reduce the plastic required by half!

For example, as pointed out in this recent article on a Chain Reaction in Materials Management & Distribution, Nestle Waters Canada has been able to reduce the amount of plastic required to make a half-litre bottle from 20g to 9.1g! That just tells you how much overpackaging there is in the average densely packaged product with poorly designed packaging. And considering how wasteful packaging is to begin with (even if its recycled, as a lot of energy goes into producing packaging, and a lot more into recycling it), this is bad.

Furthermore, not only will you green your supply chain if you save packaging (as you will be using less raw materials and energy), but you’ll be saving a lot of money, as you will be able to fit more product on a truck, or ship the same amount of product with less fuel (as it will weigh less).