Cutting down packaging waste should be a key priority for anyone who works in a warehouse, whether that be administration staff, managers or those on the warehouse floor. Waste of materials is not only bad for the environment and profit margins, but also creates health and safety concerns.
We work with businesses who face this challenge on a day to day basis. They’re looking at ways of making their operation more efficient, such as using different types of recyclable packaging materials and making their ordering processes more efficient.
Reasons to reduce packaging waste in the warehouse:
- By cutting waste, you can save money and time, and make your business more efficient.
- More and more customers are only buying from companies who have ‘green’ credentials. Waste that isn’t disposed of properly can be harmful to the environment.
- Minimise days lost due to health and safety accidents and, look after your employees.
Top 10 ways to reduce packaging waste in the warehouse:
1) Reuse rather than recycle
Recyclable packaging is much better for the environment than non-recyclable packaging, but they still require processing and piles of recyclable products might be left lying around for long periods of time. Reusing materials for different purposes, such as using left-over cardboard boxes to house office equipment, helps to reduce waste and prevent the unnecessary purchase of products.
2) Use the appropriate type of material
A lot of warehouse packaging waste is as a result of materials not being fit for purpose. Waste can occur when a product has been packaged in the incorrect material or incorrect sized packaging product. Companies such as Rajapack offer customers expert advice about the most appropriate types of packaging to use.
3) Give staff the proper training
On many occasions, waste is created or not disposed of properly because employees don’t know the processes that have been put in place. This could mean that administrative staff aren’t properly communicating with the warehouse operatives or it could be that staff haven’t been given the appropriate training. If you think you have the processes in place, make sure that your colleagues and employees are all reading from the same page. You can enrol your employees on specialist courses such as this one, from UCLAN.
4) Understand loose fill
How many times you receive a parcel at home where the packaging seems to be ten times bigger than required for the item inside. Sometimes, this is a necessity as a smaller box won’t properly protect the item however, on other occasions the wrong box or wrong loose fill has been used. Some loose fill packaging is more appropriate for certain types of item than others. Using the correct type of loose fill will better protect your product and help you to use the appropriate type of material.
5) Collect waste at regular intervals
It may sound like common sense, but it is surprising how many companies only have daily collections of waste when 3 or 4 times a day would be more appropriate to create a safe working environment for your employees. Waste can build up throughout the day and it is can become a health hazard if it isn’t removed on a regular basis.
6) Create partnerships with community projects
If removing waste material on a regular basis is becoming too time consuming, find out if there are any local charities or community projects who can use the left over material. Organisations such as animal shelters and kids clubs are often on the lookout for materials such as cardboard and may be willing to come and collect it from your organisation themselves.
7) Clearly mark packaging with pressure and weight limits.
Giving proper guidance to staff about the amount of weight and pressure packaging can take will ensure less damaged packaging and less waste. It may be the case that the strength of box being used can actually hold more products or an employee could use a smaller box for an item.
8) Use stretch film
When transporting products around the warehouse, you may be able to save packaging and energy by securing them together using stretch film rather than packing them in large boxes. Stretch film is easier to fit in bins and recycling containers.
9) Reward employees who are waste conscious.
Even if you or your staff don’t think that much about your carbon footprint or how environmentally responsible you’re being, your customers do. Rewarding your employees for their eco-friendly efforts in your warehouse should be the same as giving shop floor workers reward for great customer service. They are going the extra mile to help your company, so reward them and encourage others to do the same.
10) Appoint a ‘waste champion’
Waste champions will help to ensure that all colleagues are energized and enthusiastic about reducing waste in the warehouse. It will also give an individual an added sense of responsibility and job satisfaction.
One of Rajapack’s warehouse waste-champions is Simon Howes. We asked him why he thought having people in these kind of roles is so important:
“We currently have 2 champions on site. What we have found is that once you have championed someone, they are very quick to jump on anyone who doesn’t follow the rules, as they quite rightly should. Since implementation, it has taken a very short period of time for staff to take notice and work with the recycling process. My feeling is that it is very quickly becoming a normal working condition with more and more individuals becoming aware of the importance of waste management without having to put a lot of effort in.”
Cutting down waste in the warehouse will help you save money and the environment, as well as creating happy customers and employees. If you want more information from Rajapack about how make your packaging more efficient and eco-responsible, you can call our expert team now on 0800 542 4428 or take a look round our range of environmentally friendly packaging solutions online.