If your company is using reusable packaging, you're already reducing costs and your carbon footprint in your industrial packing and crating operations. If not, reusable packaging is an opportunity to tick off a few boxes on your corporate sustainability list (green packaging, green supply chain, and so on).
Reusable packaging suppliers are adding new functionality that did not make economic sense with disposable packaging. The following are innovations that are raising the value proposition of reusable packaging.
Pallets make up 62 percent of reusable industrial packaging types. Most are made of wood, plastic, paper, or metal from recycled material. The average wood pallet, however, can only be used a few times.
Made of more durable materials, some pallets can now be reused for much longer. Plastic pallets, in particular, have benefited from advances in tensile strength and other properties. Investments in thermal protection and improved insulation, for example, make sense for long-lasting pallets.
Anti-Microbial and Other Coatings
Similarly, shippers can justify paying more for special coating properties on reusable packing and crating containers. Most recently, demand is spiking for packaging with anti-microbial properties. Supply chain players are more concerned about the risk of pathogens in packaging and reusable containers.
Pallets, slipsheets, and other packaging types are adding innovative material properties. Like slipsheets, thin sheets with high and variable coefficients of friction to hold items in place, pallets have added slip-proof properties.
Other properties being added by coatings include:
- water resistance
- UV protection
Slipsheets work best with products of the same form factor and size.
Embedded RFID Tags and Sensors
If you're not electronically tagging your products, your warehouses, delivery fleet, and other supply chain partners may soon demand that you do. A growing number of companies have integrated radio frequency identification (RFID) throughout their supply chains.
Makers of reusable packaging such as plastic pallets, packing, and crates are embedding RFID tags and sensors directly in the packaging. The wireless devices are programmable, and thus can be easily reused. The smart chips are more commonly used in more durable plastic rather than wooden pallets.
Real-time location tracking is one of many functions you can find can find in smart RFID chips. Others include reading temperature and moisture and including instructions for unpacking, storage, disposal, and so on.
Reusable packaging is getting very smart. These smarts are an opportunity to redesign a more efficient and sustainable supply chain.
To learn more, contact a packing and crating company near you.