5 Green Ideas for Reducing Factory Packaging Waste

In an effort to save money and reduce their carbon footprint, many manufacturers are exploring ways to cut waste in the most deserving sector – product packaging. While all of the packaging can’t be cut out, a reduction is almost always easily found in factory packaging. In fact, recent years have seen consumers crying out against the excess packaging on everything from food to auto parts. Many companies are stepping up with ideas for reducing the waste and some of them may just help your company.

1. Evaluate your packaging usage. Look not only at product packaging post-production, but also the packaging used during the manufacturing process and for shipping. These are areas where you can often find excess to cut.

2. Shrink containers to more accurately fit the contents. The Heinz company recently started reducing the size of their condiment bottles to more accurately fit the amount of product in them. The company has also narrowed the openings or spouts of the bottles. This reduces the amount of wrapping needed to seal the bottle.

3. Reuse the scraps. NIKE, Inc. reduced waste in the design process by using their materials more effectively and finding a function for the excess pieces. This saves on the cost of buying materials and can create a new product, marketable as “green” or eco-friendly.

4. Employ online marketing campaigns in place of direct mail and print ads. The loss of printing costs alone can yield a tidy sum that can be then put toward research and development or reinvested in the company in some way. Start with small things like giving discounts to customers who use e-billing programs. Use email for communications. Also, try advertising in online versions of magazines as this too saves. Many trade publishers offer online advertising packages that are much more inexpensive than the print versions.

5. Explore ways to reduce retail packaging. Keep the security and safety seals, but think about packaging that requires less shrink-wrapping. For example, with a product like a doll in a sealed box, the shrink-wrap, wires and plastic clamps on the inside of the box are oftentimes relatively unnecessary.

So while reducing your factory packaging will take a little work and research, your company will likely come out of it with significant cost savings and a new eco-friendly angle that you can use in marketing the products.

How does your company work to reduce packaging waste? Share your ideas in the comments!

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