Experts reveal adopting sustainable living could help the world cut greenhouse emissions by up to 70% by 2050. Reusable or returnable containers, such as supply chain totes and containers, are among the most sustainable packaging available today that can help you reduce your carbon footprint. Recent studies estimate that reusable containers like those Flexcon provides cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 60% by eliminating the need to recycle or remanufacture single-use packaging.
What Is a Reusable Container?
Reusable or returnable packaging is a supply chain container used over many trips and has a prolonged lifespan. These containers are usually molded or fabricated corrugated plastics and are highly durable. They allow ease of use and cleaning while providing an option for repair. The containers are also collapsible or nestable to allow for inexpensive transit and storage when empty. Some of the common types of reusable Flexcon containers include:
- Handheld totes.
- Plastic bulk containers.
- Shipping racks.
How Reusable Containers Boost Sustainability Efforts
No doubt, reusable containers play an integral role in minimizing the environmental impact of supply chain operations. The following are some of the ways reusable containers can boost sustainable order fulfillment efforts:
- Reduced carbon emissions: A returnable supply chain container can drastically reduce your carbon footprint. When your business requires constant shipment of products between factory sites and final destinations, single-use corrugated packaging results in a massive accumulation of waste materials in landfills. On the other hand, returnable packaging reduces raw material consumption while minimizing carbon dioxide emissions by facilitating stacking and efficient space use during transportation. A recent study estimates recycling reusable containers for 30 years reduces emissions by 5.5-6.02 gigatons of carbon dioxide. This figure is equivalent to removing more than 1 billion cars off the streets for one year.
- Reduced solid waste: Reusable containers such as totes and RSC boxes eliminate thousands of single-use packaging items from getting into a landfill, reducing solid waste by up to 86%.
- Lower energy consumption: The energy used to manufacture reusable containers is lower than what’s necessary to manufacture single-use packaging items. This is because reusable containers last long, thereby cutting the manufacturing rate.
- Lower water consumption: Single-use packaging systems use four times more water compared to reusable packaging. The high usage is because of heavy water use during manufacture, recycling, and disposal.
- Recycling at the end of life: Reusable containers are circular, allowing for the full recovery of packaging materials at the end of their useful life. This ensures the materials are recycled and reused in producing new reusable packaging.
Benefits of Reusable Packaging Beyond Sustainability
Apart from the widely known environmental benefits, there are several business reasons why you should consider using returnable containers. These include:
- Faster return on investment: Despite their high upfront investment, reusable containers deliver a faster return on investment. The quicker ROI is due to a lower cost per trip than the single-use option. In a nutshell, the cost per trip is much lower than the cost of purchasing new expandable packaging each time. It is estimated that businesses that opt for reusable containers save between 40 to 70% on the overall costs.
- Enhances productivity: Reusable totes and containers offer vast productivity benefits. They improve ease of use while ensuring more accessibility of items to production line staff. The workers leverage dividers to allow for multiple parts to be handled in a single container.
- Reduces damage: Reusable containers are made from robust materials to protect products and parts throughout the supply chain, translating to lower costs related to written-off stock.
- Improves space efficiency: Collapsible and nestable containers can improve space efficiency in storage and transit. Nestable containers stack on their lids or over fold-out bail-arms, allowing them to nest on each other, saving up to 75% of space.
Types of Products Included in the Reusable Ecosystem.
Several types of reusable containers are for companies looking to increase efficiencies and contribute to a sustainable order fulfillment supply chain. Some common types of reusable products include:
- Nesting postal totes.
- Nesting tray tote.
- Straight wall tote.
- RSC box.
- Collapsible containers.
Applications of Reusable Containers in the Supply Chain
Reusable containers have their applications in both commercial and household spectrums. In the commercial area, the containers are widely used in transporting raw materials to processing units and transporting finished products to warehouses and consumers. Among the industries that typically make use of these containers are:
- Food and drink industry.
- Chemical industry.
- Electronics and computer manufacturers and assemblers.
- Textiles and clothing.
- Any industry needing bulk storage/transport.
Features of Reusable Containers From Flexcon
The following are some of the features of reusable containers from Flexcon.
Heavy-duty construction: Our containers can withstand constant rigors in various automated systems. Made from corrugated plastic, they withstand rust, corrosion, and water damage.
Adjustable dividers: Our containers are available with adjustable dividers to maximize versatility while optimizing picking, sorting, and packaging operations.
Versatile designs: They are compatible with most automated inserter/extractor and conveyor systems in ASRS.
Pitched drain holes: The containers have pitched drain holes for ease of cleaning. The holes also ensure water drains out to prevent the collapse of the automated storage and retrieval system when sprinklers are on.
Optional lids: Optional lids are available to secure and protect your products in transit.
Contact Flexcon Today for Reusable Containers
Reusable packaging systems play an integral role in minimizing the environmental impact of supply chains. These containers provide users with long, useful life in a truly circular model. Flexcon is a world-renowned manufacturer and supplier of reusable containers designed to meet the unique sustainable order fulfillment needs of every industry.
We aim to promote sustainability by enabling a circular economy for flexible packaging. All our products are polypropylene, which resists extreme temperatures and reduces carbon emissions. The containers are also recyclable at the end of their life and returned to productive use rather than entering the landfill.
We leverage cutting-edge technologies and techniques to design and deliver returnable containers that meet FDA standards and your specific needs. Custom designs, layouts, and sizes are available. Dealer inquiries are welcome. If you have further questions or want to order something that meets your sustainable fulfillment order needs, contact us today.