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Innovative packaging methods for environmentally friendly logistics

Cardboard boxes with a green leaf on them

From waste to added value:

Nowadays, when conscious consumption and environmental protection are becoming increasingly important, the issue of packaging is also becoming more and more important. Especially in the area of purchasing, questions of transport and the associated containers play a crucial role. The packaging that comes with purchases often makes up a significant portion of operational waste, even if it can be recycled. How can companies transform their packaging practices and move them in a more sustainable direction? Here are three selected examples from our innovation compass that can help companies make logistics more climate-neutral.

Less parcel waste: modifiable reusable shipping bags and boxes for rent

In order to reduce the mountains of waste from disposable cardboard boxes, the Munich company hey circle GmbH has created shipping packaging that can be used over and over again and is optimized for logistics. As boxes and bags, the so-called “post loop bags” circulate up to 50 times. Returning the empty bags is easy: simply fold them and return them via any mailbox. The return address is attached with a sticker on a fold-out tab. Our own, lean IT solution allows the boxes to be integrated into an online shop and creates strong incentives for returns. Returned goods are returned to the sender prepared in the same packaging in which they came. The turquoise standard boxes and bags from hey circle already have a high recognition value, but can also be provided with individual branding - ideal for Christmas campaigns, for example. Austrian Post is making 40,000 shipping bags in its own design available to its business customers for rent. The reusable packaging is not only practical and reduces waste, it also saves CO₂ emissions and conserves natural resources. References to reusability are printed and make the recipient aware of the omnipresent waste problem. [1] [2]

Image link to the innovation compass

Plastic-free supply chain: Food stays reliably cold in insulated packaging made from recycled paper

Cooling packaging for food is made of Styrofoam, plastic or coated with plastic. Packaging material and disposable packaging are becoming a huge environmental problem.  The start-up SUPASO GmbH (SUstainable PAckaging SOlutions) from Vienna has therefore developed sustainable insulated packaging for the refrigerated shipping of temperature-sensitive foods and other goods. Their product ecoliner is a bio-based inlay system for shipping and delivery boxes. The strong insulation performance is achieved by insulating material made from cellulose fibers, which is made from 100 percent recycled waste paper. The entire packaging is specially sophisticated: The multi-layer structure consists of cardboard, paper bio-protective films, air and cellulose insulation material and ensures a constantly cool temperature inside. The insulation material can be disposed of in waste paper and recycled. The ecoliner keeps temperature-sensitive foods such as fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, yoghurt or milk cool throughout the entire transport route. SUPASO has developed high-performance insulation for frozen products for foods that require a cold chain. Depending on the requirements of customers and their supply chains, the ecoliner can be produced precisely - even different climate zones can be set up in one shipping box. Companies can reduce their carbon footprint by switching from Styrofoam. The young company wants to expand its CO₂-neutral production and is planning new products such as a climate-friendly cool pack that can be filled with tap water. [3] [4]

Sophisticated circulation system for shipping boxes for better ecological balance

Tons of packages are sent around the globe every day. However, much of the packaging material ends up in the trash, even though many boxes are still in good condition. That has to change, the founders of SendMePack thought and introduced a reusable system for shipping boxes. This allows online retailers, but also logisticians and private customers, to purchase used shipping packaging in all common sizes, which improves their carbon footprint and saves resources. Because every decision for SendMePack prevents the use of new packaging, so that some trees don't even have to be felled. In addition, a lot of CO₂ is produced during the production of cardboard boxes. The SendMePack boxes are marked with a label that tells the recipient why the shipping packaging may look a bit damaged and what the idea behind it is. For this “educational work”, a QR code is also attached that quantifies the CO₂ saved. It is also tracked in which city the individual boxes have already been. The cycle is closed by the end customers handing over the boxes to cooperation partners. SendMePack employees are responsible for checking the material, processing it and re-applying it with a label and a QR code. And the box can go on its journey again. [5]

Designing sustainable packaging in purchasing is more than just changing processes - it is a step towards a more responsible future. We hope the inspiration examples presented here provide an insight into the variety of approaches that companies can use to improve their ecological balance. However, the responsibility lies not only with the manufacturers, but also with us as consumers and purchasing decision-makers. By making more conscious choices and promoting sustainable practices, we can have a positive impact on the environment.

Packaging flying in the air



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