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How supply chains affect packaging

Michael Kuebler, technical director of North America distribution testing at Smithers Pira in Lansing, MI., guides a team of packaging experts who analyze the true impact of the supply chain on a given package.

How should companies weigh performance, cost and sustainability initiatives? Is one more important than the others?

Companies should take a total cost view when evaluating materials, sustainability goals and performance by leveraging high quality predictive tools.  We often see that various operations within a company are functioning in silos with one group focused on cost reduction, another focused on reducing damage and another focused on sustainability objectives. A decision by one group can affect all the others and can also cause an increase in damage rates and non-saleables.

Material reduction savings are quickly lost when the material’s performance is sacrificed beyond what is required to get the products to the consumers in good condition.  Nothing is more costly than shipping a product twice.

In turn, sustainability gains from new packaging materials or packaging material reductions can be quickly lost if the packaging’s performance is reduced past what is required to get the products to the consumers.  Sustainability goals should encompass all inputs, including fuel costs, handling, etc., used to get a product to the consumer.

In order to truly optimize packaging performance, various business functions need to understand the cost implications across the full supply chain, which can be achieved through distribution testing.

 

Full article: http://www.foodengineeringmag.com/articles/96232-how-supply-chains-affect-packaging

Source: Food Engineering

Sustainable packaging requires yin and yang thinking

Sustainable Materials Management and The Circular Economy are two big picture catch phrases competing for the attention of the packaging industry. Do you know which is better for the environment and which is better for your bottom line?

Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) is a framework for minimizing the environmental impacts related to the consumption of products and services. It is based on the concept of lifecycle thinking, whereby the cradle-to-grave chain of inputs, throughputs and outputs of a specific product or service is measured, analyzed, compared and evaluated.

There are two primary aspects to SMM. The first relates to source reduction; the goal is to minimize the amount of materials and energy needed to deliver 100% of the value expected from purchased products and services.

After source reduction techniques are applied, the key to successful SMM implementation is to:

• Use only the most effective, efficient material and energy resources when creating products and services, and

• Keep those resources operating indefinitely within the economic system.

Doing so requires Circular Economy (CE) thinking, which minimizes disposability and waste while maximizing conservation, reuse and recovery.

When working within both SMM and CE frameworks, it is important to keep a couple of points in mind:

1. Looking at the “big picture” from a lifecycle perspective can produce counter-intuitive, but more effective, actions and results.

2. Because we haven’t yet invented a perpetual-motion machine, achieving SMM and CE is a journey, not a destination. Over time, innovation and its long-term effects can create the need to augment or modify strategies and tactics.

To read the full article, click here:
http://www.packagingdigest.com/sustainable-packaging/sustainable-packaging-requires-yin-yang-thinking1608

Source: Packaging Digest

Package Sustainability Now an Expectation

Smithers Pira’s report, “Ten-year Forecast of Disruptive Technologies in Sustainable Packaging to 2026,” says, “Sustainability will become an increasingly important factor for decision makers at all stages of packaging value chains. Sustainability is now a fast-growing and vitally important area of concern for packaging and addresses economic, environmental and social objectives.”

“The trend toward sustainability is an important influence on the packaging industry. Consumers, manufacturers and retailers are all demanding more sustainable systems, which are formalized in corporate social responsibility goals and publicized in product marketing,” says Dr Terence A. Cooper, author of the report.

“Consequently, sustainability is no longer just nice to have, but is now seen as a necessity for attracting consumers and protecting market share – i.e. it is now an expectation, not a differentiator.”

Smithers Pira’s report makes the following points:

• Mechanical recycling and sustainability are not synonymous and many different factors contribute to the carbon footprints of different packaging types and materials.

• The most important rigid packaging plastic is PET, followed by polyethylene (PE); PET and PE combined account for about 65% of plastics used for rigid packaging. Polypropylene is next. In contrast, the most important plastic material used for flexible packaging is PE, followed by PP and PET.

• There is presently no package that is completely sustainable and the various packaging materials (including plastics, paper, paperboard, metals and glass) all have advantages and shortcomings depending upon the product application.

To read the entire article, click here: http://www.healthcarepackaging.com/sustainability/strategy/package-sustainability-now-expectation

Source: Healthcare Packaging