Wikipedia defines returnable packaging as manufactured, durable materials specifically designed for multiple trips and extended life. A reusable package or container is “designed for reuse without impairment of its protective function.”
While this definition is accurate, there are few more qualities and benefits of reusable packaging that we would like to expand upon.
The reusability of packaging is an important feature when considering the environmental credo of “reduce, reuse, and recycle”. It is also important to the forward movement of sustainable packaging, since most all regulators encourage returnable packaging today.
Our products are typically designed for 3-5 year programs. The reusability of these items reduces waste and disposal costs for our customers. Not only does this benefit our customers, but the environment as well considering 90% of the materials we use for our products are recyclable, and can be reprocessed into raw materials for reuse.
Returnable Packaging Engineering
The main function of returnable packaging is to safely transport products from vendor to end user, as well as move product from one area of a plant to another.
One of the greatest things about the packaging industry is that we see new products from all over the world that need to be packed and moved safely. Because of this, we are constantly learning about new packaging technologies and engineering.
The process for developing returnable packaging starts with an in-depth discussion about the customer’s requirements. Designing a returnable package system can take time, but it is essential to get all of the necessary details to provide a quality product.
Sales reps are the point of contact for gathering the information needed by management for packaging review and design. Our management team then determines if all the needed information has been collected to successfully engineer a product.
For example, a sales rep might ask questions like:
- Do the parts need to be protected using protective packaging?
- Can the parts be bulk packed in a steel or plastic container to safely transport the product from A to B?
- What type of environment will the product be stored in?
And so on. These questions may seem excessive, but are key when developing a returnable packaging system for a client.
As soon as we compile all of the product information –size and weight, shipping and handling, and storage environment, our engineering team will start to conceptualize and mock-up a design.
During the packaging design phase, durability, function, and ergonomics are all taken into consideration to develop the best product for the supplier and customer.
Money & Time Savings
The long-term savings generated by returnable packaging alone is tremendous. Time spent on written orders and the constant stream of money going out for single-use packaging is greatly reduced, if not eliminated.
The customer’s time is also reduced when purchasing reusable containers. Instead of buying monthly expendable packaging systems, the returnable units are usually a one-time capital expenditure.
These cost and time savings can be proven for any packaging design we offer, including our returnable packaging systems.