Waste management has become a global problem. It is a problem that can only be resolved if people and industries reduce waste. It has been found that one-third of all waste is packaging material used by various industries, retailers and consumers. The problem of waste has increased environmental problems and costs of waste management. As such, it is imperative that the waste being recycled be increased and reused as well.
One of the areas where significant progress can be made in waste reduction is in packaging. Working together, consumers, packaging manufacturers and retailers can make a great contribution to the resolution of this particular problem. In order to do this, they must of necessity aggressively pursue the available waste reduction strategies. These include reusing, recycling and waste prevention.
How Businesses can Benefit from Waste Reduction
When a business makes the decision to reduce waste, it will be making a decision for the following as well:
- Saving money on the various packaging supplies
- Conservation of energy and natural resources
- Reducing the costs of disposing waste and also protecting itself against future waste disposal costs
- Customers are increasingly becoming conscious of green products and businesses that are environmentally conscious. Your business will be able to give them that.
- Your business will not be adding to the environment’s burden since you will not be producing or disposing waste that is unnecessary
- By giving your employees a great environmental project to work on, you will be boosting their morale
- Any future risk of liability that may be associated with solid waste disposal will be reduced
Principles that Govern Packaging Reduction
There are principles that packaging firms have used to save costs and also effectively reduce waste. The idea is to implement them based on your company’s priorities with the aim of reducing how much waste will end up in landfills. They are as follows:
1. Eliminate Packaging Altogether
Begin by doing your best not to produce waste material at all. This will mean that waste to be managed will be minimized. If you can eliminate packaging altogether do so, as long as you do not jeopardize the integrity of your product.
2. Reducing the Packaging
If you must package your products, consider ways of reducing the packaging you are using. You can do this in the following ways:
- Modify the design or structure of your package
- Use only one component to package your product; also known as single material packaging
- Make changes in the design of your product
- Use a different or new kind of packaging
- Use packaging that is consumable
3. Reusable Packaging
Another way that you can make positive change in waste reduction is by using packaging that is either reusable or refillable. Reusable packaging means that you don’t have to manufacture more waste products than necessary. Refillable packages include large containers that a consumer, manufacturer or retailer can refill. This should be for the original purpose and not a secondary one.
Recyclable Content and Packaging
The packaging products used should be recyclable. These include closures, seals, labels, tapes and the like. The best material for recycling should be that which is recycled after the consumer has used it and discarded it.
Analyzing your Packaging
It is important that the packaging material you decide on maintains the standards of health, product integrity and safety standards. In addition, it should not violate any regulatory or statutory requirements. This checklist can help you in analyzing the packaging to use:
- Does the packaging have any toxic materials?
- If so, can they be eliminated?
- If not, can they be substituted?
- Can you eliminate the package entirely?
- Can package design, product design, size reduction, secondary package elimination, or volume reduction reduce the packaging?
- Can the package be returned for redistribution and reuse?
- Can a consumer or customer refill the package?
- Can the package be recycled?
- Is it possible for the packaging to be made of one material or be made easy to recycle?
- If it has to have 2 or more materials, are they easy to separate?
- If the package has tints, inks and dyes, can they be removed easily for recycling?
- Does the packaging have the largest feasible quantity of post-use material?
- Do you get 2 or more kinds of stretch wrap or flexible film?
- Consider asking the vendors you deal with to use a particular plastic material for packaging to make it easier to recycle in-store
Waste management cannot be ignored. It is the responsibility of each and every manufacturer, retailer and consumer. If you are considering waste prevention and reduction, speak to us at Compactor Management Company, and let us talk about how we can help you achieve your goals in this area.
Northern California Compactors Inc. offers installation and support services for waste recycling equipment such as trash compactors, balers, shredders & conveyor systems. Established in 1981, it offers waste management solutions across the United States.