The current imperative for applying eco-consciousness into economical processes has seen companies look for new and improved ways to reduce packaging and, as a consequence, reduce packaging waste.
From our decades-long experience with packaging design, at Knauf, we take a look at current packaging optimization options using an eco-design perspective that helps companies advance towards a zero-waste future without compromising product protection.
How to reduce excessive packaging?
The formula to reduce packaging waste is widely known: packaging must be either reduced, recycled, or recyclable and reusable.
Taking a deeper look at these well-known concepts, what they’re all pointing towards is a profound change of paradigm in the process of generating packaging. The final goal? To shift production processes from a lineal paradigm to a circular model. In such a model, packaging products are designed with their “end of life” in sight and with the aim of producing as little waste as possible.
In other words, to reduce packaging waste companies should take a look at the design process of their packaging and incorporate eco-design principles. With such a perspective, packaging reduction can come from a variety of sources: from using recyclable or reusable materials to redesigning packaging systems in order to reduce material quantities.
Reduce packaging waste by changing your protective packaging
Packaging optimization is a process by which protective packaging is designed so that the right amount and type of packaging materials are used for each product’s needs.
This optimization is often paired up with the generation of custom packaging solutions, which are common across a number of industries, such as automotive custom packaging systems.
Transforming protective packaging systems often follows these 3 steps:
- Packaging structures are redesigned in order to both guarantee protection and a smooth running of logistics, but also reduce packaging waste. At this stage, primary, secondary and tertiary packaging solutions are considered from a customized perspective, guaranteeing each product’s protection needs are met.
- Packaging size is put under scrutiny. The right amount of packaging will both optimize costs (in transportation and storage processes), eliminate unnecessary packaging waste, and protect the goods inside.
- Materials are chosen considering their protective capabilities but also their “end of life” possibilities (are they easily recyclable? Is there a reliable structure for the handling of packaging waste?). Testing protocols and customized designed processes help companies in this step.
- The option to generate custom packaging solutions must be considered at this point. Through injection molding technology, packaging solutions are produced that help reduces packaging waste.
What is expanded foam and how can it be used as an alternative to reduce packaging?
Expanded plastic foam is a type of plastic resin made of 98% air that presents extraordinary advantages for packaging production as it’s lightweight and extremely resistant.
Additionally, applying it to custom packaging solutions can provide the following two benefits:
Expanded foam reduces packaging waste helping to save costs
- Expanded EPP and EPS foams are 100% recyclable through the right collection schemes. For instance, we’ve developed the Knauf Circular program, which guarantees the recycling of EPS packaging waste and its recovery into new products.
- EPP and EPS foam can be incorporated into injection molding processes, thus facilitating the production of optimized, custom packaging solutions at a low cost that are easily manufactured.
- The use of EPP foam also facilitates the creation of returnable and reusable packaging, a widely used packaging solution in the automotive sector that is expanding to other industries as well.
Reduce packaging production times
Expanded foam provides an easy manufacturing process, minimizing production needs and times which, in turn, translates into reduced costs.
You might also be interested in: Foam packaging inserts benefits and characteristics
Reduce packaging waste with Knauf
At Knauf Appliances we help companies redesign their packaging solutions in order to reduce packaging waste without compromising on the protection of their goods.
Using reliable expanded foam packaging materials, we apply eco-design criteria into our processes in order to help companies optimize their packaging.
In fact, we’ve developed a collaborative analysis system, our Total Pack System, which allows us to understand each project’s needs and then develop the right solution for it.
Additionally, our ID-lab works to incorporate innovative materials, reduce time to market, improve packaging efficiency, and include our solutions into circular economy models.
Learn more about expanded foam packaging solutions by downloading our free Technical Manual. Discover what expanded foam is, what are the best materials to reduce packaging waste and the additional advantages of incorporating expanded foam in packaging solutions.