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Returnable packaging as a sustainable solution

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Corné van de Voort
Key Account Manager
More articles by Corné van de Voort

Sustainability goes beyond reducing packaging material

Sustainable packaging is the trend. The quality requirements are becoming increasingly strict and the call for a lower CO2 footprint is getting louder. What strikes me is that the focus is mainly on saving packaging material. While there is even more profit to be made by opting for returnable packaging. In this blog I will explain how I look at it.

Returnable packaging as a sustainable solution

Sustainability in logistics often means saving on the amount of packaging material, focusing mainly on the material, weight and size of the packaging. I always challenge my clients to look further and consider reusing the packaging. In my experience, returnable packaging can be profitable on several fronts. Think of the environment, the delivery performance, the life span of the product and the relationship with the customer.

Better performance

Customers place increasingly stringent demands on the quality of the products they order. One of the preconditions is that your product arrives at its destination in one piece and on time. Clean, without scratches, in good working order. Rejection or DOA (Defect on Arrival) is unacceptable. This causes delays for your customer, who (justifiably!) does not want these delays. With returnable packaging you reduce this risk and you can improve your performance. A flightcase, for example, is much sturdier and better constructed than a one-way packaging. After all, it is made to be sent several times and it can withstand a shock or impact much better.

Better for the environment

Especially if you regularly send products to your customers, returnable packaging can significantly reduce your CO2 footprint. Purchasing a cardboard box or wooden crate over and over again is less sustainable than using returnable packaging. The waste flow and production costs of one-way packaging have a significant impact on your CO2 footprint. In addition, sustainable return packaging helps to reduce the risk of DOA. This way you can avoid unnecessary transport movements for the replacement of a broken product.

Preventing hidden costs

Rejection or DOA costs lots of money. It causes annoyance and hassle for the customer, but also for you. If you send out 10 products and one of them arrives in a defective condition, you have to set up a whole process for this one product in order to solve this problem. The customer has to send the product back and wait for a replacement, you have to repair this product or take it out of circulation and send a new one to the customer. The sales office, the business office, production, logistics and planning, they all have to work together to solve this problem. How efficient is that? With solid return packaging, you reduce the risk of DOA and the associated costs. You can thus save a lot of costs (and hassle).

More turnover

With the right packaging, you also invest in customer satisfaction. An accident on the road is always possible, but after a few mistakes you have to fight hard to restore trust and maintain cooperation. Don’t forget that DOA is customer annoyance number one. If the delivery performance is atrocious, you can forget about new orders. With the right packaging, however, you do make a good impression on your customer. And that can only benefit your turnover, I am convinced of that.

Making long-term choices

In practice, we see more and more buyers looking for sustainable packaging solutions. But they do not immediately think of returnable packaging. They are often surprised when we show them what is possible and what long-term savings they can achieve. For example, for one of our customers we have set up a worldwide pool for flight cases. We keep the flightcases in stock and deliver them exactly on time, worldwide. The flightcases then come back to us and we clean them and, if necessary, perform repairs to recondition them. This way, we ensure an optimal lifespan of the returnable packaging and we relieve our customer of all worries. The delivery performance of this customer has never been so strong!

Is returnable packaging profitable for my product?

Of course, I would not claim that returnable packaging is by definition the most sustainable packaging solution. Choosing the right packaging is more complex than that. In this e-book you will read how to choose the best packaging for your product. But I do advocate that you look beyond the purchase price of the packaging and consider the costs and benefits in the longer term. After all, your company is judged on its delivery performance. So consider reusable packaging.

Are you looking for ways to become more sustainable?

If so, let’s discuss it together. We guarantee that we will soon come up with tangible actions that will not only reduce your impact on the environment, but also lower your costs and risks. Ask your question easily by phone or sending an email.

In the meantime, we advise you to download our e-book on sustainable packaging to learn how you save costs in both the short as the long term, how you can be prepared for stricter legislation and regulations on packaging and how sustainable packaging will help you strengthen your corporate image.

Download the e-book on sustainable packaging

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    We relieve you of all aspects of your return packaging logistics, with tailor-made services. So you can focus on the core business of the company.
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    Packaging has to endure a lot during transport. We repair and clean your packaging to bring it back in good condition.
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    Presentation tool, toolbox, repair or assembly kit? Industrial, medical or high-tech sector? Plastic cases are real all-rounders.

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