Returnable Packaging - Reduce Packaging Waste - PPS
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Reduce bulk packaging waste by using returnable packaging solutions. Hire or buy plastic crates, containers or boxes
Packaging waste is the material used to wrap or protect goods, that is finally unwanted or thrown away because it is no longer useful, required by the customer or contaminated. Packaging waste is generated on a daily basis and if not properly managed can affect our health and the quality of the environment. Changing your company’s bulk packaging to returnable options such as PPS crates, containers or boxes, can help reduce waste and also save money on Packaging Recovery Notes.
Packaging Recovery Notes (PRN’s)
Businesses in England and Wales are obligated under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (packaging waste) Regulations 2007 to recover and recycle waste packaging to meet National recovery and recycling targets.
Businesses who pass two threshold become producers. They:
- have a turnover of £2 million or above;
- handle 50 tonnes or more of packaging in a calendar year.
Producers are defined in the regulations as:
- Manufacturers - businesses who make packaging materials
- Converters - businesses who make packaging items
- Pack-fillers - businesses who fill packaging
- Importers - businesses who import packaging
- Sellers - businesses who sell packaged goods
Being a Waste Packaging Producer (as above), you will have to purchase packaging recovery notes (PRNs) to demonstrate that the recovery obligations have been met which is another cost to your business. The alternative is to send and also receive as much of your products in returnable packaging, therefore eliminating the waste (the containers are reused over and over) meaning your overall tonnage of waste packaging can be reduced. Also if you decide to rent from PPS it is then our responsibility to eventually have the returnable containers recycled when they can no longer be reused.
Package development involves considerations for sustainability, environmental responsibility, and applicable environmental and recycling regulations.
It may involve a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) which considers the material and energy inputs and outputs to the package, the packaged product (contents), the packaging process, the logistics system, and waste management.
The traditional “three R’s” of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle are part of a waste hierarchy which may be considered in product and package development.
The Waste Hierarchy
- Prevention – Waste Prevention is a primary goal. Proper packaging can also help prevent waste, as it has an important part in preventing loss or damage to the packaged-product (contents). Usually, the energy content and material usage of the product being packaged are much greater than that of the package. A vital function of the package is to protect the product for its intended use: if the product is damaged or degraded, its entire energy and material content may be lost
- Minimisation – The mass and volume of packaging can be measured, and used as one of the criteria to minimise during the package design process. Usually “reduced” packaging also helps minimise costs.
- Reuse – The reuse of a package or component for other purposes is encouraged. Returnable Packaging or RTP should be preferable before recycling, and is economically viable for closed loop logistics systems. Inspection, cleaning, and repair are often needed between trips.
- Recycling – Recycling is the reprocessing of materials into new products. Emphasis is focused on recycling the largest primary components of a package: steel, aluminum, papers, plastics, etc. PPS’s crates and boxes are always recycled after their long life span.
- Energy recovery – Waste-to-energy and Refuse-derived fuel in approved facilities are able to make use of the heat available from the packaging components.
- Disposal – Incineration or placement in landfill are needed for some materials. Certain laws regulate packaging for toxic contents, which have the potential to contaminate emissions and ash from incineration and leachate from landfill. Packaging should not be littered.
Development of Sustainable Packaging or Returnable Packaging are areas of considerable interest by standards organisations, government, consumers, packagers, and retailers.
Expanded polystyrene as packaging
Packaging such as fish boxes which are made from expanded polystyrene (EPS) weigh almost nothing, and provide an extremely efficient packaging or insulating material.
However large volumes can arise as packaging waste, and sometimes as a component of countryside or street litter. Recovery and recycling is being carried out in many places in the UK, but its low density precludes long distance transport (a fully laden 40 tonne truck would carry considerably less than one tonne, unless there is sufficient material present to justify conversion into briquettes prior to travel). Consequently most recycling is of relatively clean industrial and commercial waste reconstituted to its solid form and recycled into new EPS insulation or packaging, or moulded products such as CD cases, coat hangers, and 'hardwood equivalent' furniture such as picnic benches, and picture frames.
Larger amounts of material can be collected free, but collection networks for less pure i.e. used fish boxes, material are quite undeveloped resulting in the waste being shipped overseas where in some cases UK standard labour, health & safety laws etc are not present.