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The Plastic Problem: How to innovate the packaging dilemma

The general public are now far more informed when it comes to the damage of non-recyclable plastics on the environment. This has led to far more importance being put on this in recent times and change is now finally being made. A huge part of this drive came from the Blue Planet Documentaries, led by David Attenborough. Research showed that up to 88% of people who had watched the second series had changed their behaviour towards the subject as a result of this. A major positive step.

David Attenborough’s Blue Planet Documentary

So what are packaging companies doing in order to tackle this problem?

Returnable packaging is the ever growing force within the industry and at PPS, they have been pushing this greatly across their services. Returnable packaging can come in many forms such as plastic pallets, plastic crates, boxes, trays and containers. These are then reused over and over again in a closed loop through logistic chains.

So how does this work?

For example the crates would be delivered to the supplier, which are then packed with the goods and delivered to the end customer. This packaging is then collected before being washed and then returned to the start of the loop. This is fast becoming the method of choice for businesses, which is replacing the previous single trip and use packaging. These being the likes of cardboard boxes and polystyrene, which have long been the popular choice in the meat and seafood industry for example.

Different terms?

Returnable packaging can be described under a number of different terms. These being Returnable plastic or transit packaging, RTP, Reusable packaging, Reusable distribution packaging, RPC, Closed loop distribution, Sustainable packaging, Transport packaging, Polypropylene packaging and bulk containers.

Why returnable packaging?

Returnable packaging in most cases will result in significant cost savings for businesses over the traditional single use packaging. These product cycles will usually last on average from three to five years, which also provides better protection for the products during the shipment. This sustainable approach is therefore a no brainer for most.

Environmental benefit?

The key to this entire process is the positive on the environment. This has resulted in this becoming the preferred option for businesses. The materials can be reused in a lengthy life cycle, in comparison to being dumped into landfill, which ultimately has a very negative impact on the environment and can be an expensive process.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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