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Is Returnable Packaging Right for Your Business?
Companies today strive to make an impact with their customers in all sorts of ways, and showing customers that the company cares about the environment can go a long way in creating a positive customer relationship. The company can use recyclable packaging to lessen their footprint, but there are better options out there. One such option is having returnable packaging, which allows the company to use the same packaging repeatedly. This saves the environment from the damage creating new packaging can cause, plus it saves money for the company since they only have to pay for the packaging once!
"Using returnable packaging will tell your customers that you are a responsible company that cares about the environment"
Returnable packaging is improving the way that businesses ship their products around the world. Unlike one-way packaging, which will lead your packaging to simply be thrown away once it reaches its final destination, returnable packaging offers a variety of great benefits:
- Lower costs. Instead of one-way packaging that is used once and then thrown out, returnable packaging is reused, which will eliminate the recurring costs of packaging production. When using the same containers for a long period of time, your packaging costs should be lower over time than with other options.
- Improved product protection. Returnable containers are built to support heavy loads, and they provide excellent resistance to external forces and impact.
- Greater worker safety. Returnable pallets and containers are much easier for staff to manage than other solutions, as they often provide smooth grasping surfaces and handles. This can reduce workplace injuries.
- Reduction in environmental impact. When you use returnable packaging, you will reduce the amount of packaging material that is making its way into a landfill. A reused package is one less material that will be found in the solid waste system, minimizing your environmental impact.
- Clean and organized. Returnable packaging will eliminate the mess associated with one-way packaging, such as dirt, trash, dust, and cleanup activities. Returnable packaging also tends to be built to support heavy loads and can be stacked high in trailers or warehouses, saving space and providing a more organized facility appearance.
- Improved brand reputation. Using returnable packaging will tell your customers that you are a responsible company that cares about the environment. Today, some customers make decisions on companies that they want to work with based on their environmental practices, so this could set you apart from your competition.
Shortcomings of Returnable Packaging
Like any packaging solution, there are some drawbacks to choosing returnable over one-way packaging. These factors should be considered when choosing your packaging solution:
Greater upfront costs. Unlike one-way packaging, which tends to be more affordable upfront, returnable packaging tends to be more expensive right away. However, savings over time will likely be enough to justify the initial capital expense.
Increased transportation costs. Returnable packaging needs to be sent back, and unfortunately this return trip isn’t free. You’ll need to factor that cost into your shipping and transportation budget.
Storage space requirements. After your returnable packaging is sent back, where are you going to store it? It typically takes more space to store empty reusable packaging than one-time packaging options due to the design and strength. If storage space is a concern, consider collapsible options that can minimize the amount of room your solutions require.
Potential loss of materials. With returnable packaging, you’ll be relying on the customer to send back your packaging once your goods have been received. Should your customer not follow through, you will be out the expense of those unreturned materials.
Types of Returnable Packaging Solutions
Returnable packaging solutions are available in a wide variety of materials, so regardless of your business needs, you can find a system that is right for your products. These exterior packaging systems are usually combined with inner packaging solutions that have been customized to best protect and secure your goods during transport. There are several materials that make good returnable packaging solutions:
- Plywood boxes. When you need to transport bulky and heavy goods, plywood boxes can offer the strength that you need. The boxes themselves tend to be easy to handle and lightweight, so you won’t need to worry about a ton of added weight.
- Returnable pallets. These load carriers are excellent solutions for heavy items that require a packaging solution that is durable and strong. They can be made out of a variety of materials, including steel, wood, plywood, or even plastic.
- Steel products. Steel packaging offers customized and long-lasting protection. A steel box will protect your goods from rough handling and heavy impacts, ensuring that your products arrive at their final destination safely while minimizing your freight and shipping costs.
- Plastic packaging. There are more packaging solutions made out of plastic than ever before, ranging from small totes to large, foldable containers. Regardless of the size, shape, or weight of your product, a plastic packaging system can be created to keep it safe.