More brands are beginning to rethink product design and incorporate reusable packaging. Startup companies Blueland and Everdrop sell cleaning products in the form of tablets that can be dropped into reusable containers. Bite have developed tiny toothpaste tablets that avoid the need for plastic tubes.
Consumers can now order their weekly supermarket shop in reusable, returnable packaging through Loop and Dove have recently introduced a stainless steel, refillable holder for deodorant. The fashion industry has also responded with options to repair or refurbish clothing. Startup company Thousand Fell will take back shoes when customers have worn them out so they can be recycled.
Although plastic and cardboard can be recycled, a lack of infrastructure and high demand for packaging means that not all packaging will be recycled. The BBC have recently reported on ‘cardboard shortages’ which have been attributed to an increased requirement for cardboard packaging and a failure to get used cardboard back into the recycling system to be reprocessed.
Reusable Packaging and the Circular Economy
We are currently in the midst of a global waste crisis. Traditional waste management solutions have focused on recycling, but recycling is inefficient. According to a report by Loop and Zero Waste Europe, packaging accounts for 36% of municipal solid waste in Europe. While countries continue to struggle with waste management issues and our natural resources are depleted, the global economy loses between $80-120 billion a year in packaging that could be reused or recycled. For example, cardboard is often regarded as better for the environment than plastic. But if the demand for cardboard increases, there will be a shortage of pulp needed to make the board. If we cannot recover enough used cardboard to be reused or recycled, more trees will have to be cut down to produce the raw material needed. This is clearly not sustainable.
The Circular Economy aims to solve this problem by keeping products in constant use so they never end up as waste. In a truly circular economy waste does not exist. Through better design, materials are constantly used, reused, repurposed, remanufactured, or recycled so they never end up as waste. But to achieve true circularity we must have the correct design, infrastructure and innovation to keep packaging in use for longer and correctly process it.
Circularity Makes Good Business Sense
Businesses are taking positive steps to reduce their carbon footprint and one way they can do this is through the circular economy model. According to Joe Iles from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, “Around 45% of greenhouse gas emissions are coming from the way that we make and use products and the way that we manage the land”. Recovering a used product and making it available for reuse can avoid nearly all of the environmental impact of making the same product from scratch. Businesses can effectively save money and reduce their environmental impact by developing more circular practises such as reusable packaging.
Easy and Affordable Reusable Packaging from Reuseabox
If you pack your products in cardboard boxes there is an easy way to switch to reusable packaging. Reuseabox provide once used or new surplus cardboard boxes. These boxes have been used but are still clean, dry and perfectly reusable. Cardboard boxes are costly to make and recycle and should not be treated as a single use item. When you choose to Reuseabox you get low cost packaging on demand. We don’t have to make a used cardboard box so there are zero lead times. Our unique Carbon Footprint Tool allows us to provide reports on your environmental savings. We can tell you exactly how much carbon you have saved by packing your products in used cardboard boxes, along with lots of other interesting data.
To find out more about our used cardboard boxes, contact the team on 01636 626476 or email [email protected]