Reusable Transport Packaging Is the Future

Creating value through the prevention of waste while addressing environmental concerns is the objective of the new reusable transport packaging system that being promoted through the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA). President and CEO Tim Debus of the RPA says, “Our focus is on the reuse of products, so they can be recovered after use and then reused for their original purpose. The idea is to promote the continuous use of these packaging products so we can generate value and prevent waste in the supply chain.” RPA members comprise suppliers, users and service providers of reusable transport packaging systems such as pallets, containers and trays for distribution of goods through a supply chain.

Tim Debus is delivering a keynote speech at the forthcoming Industrial Pack 2018 expo, to be held at Atlanta’s Cobb Galleria Centre on April 4 & 5, where he will address the three key challenges facing the industrial packaging industry today, namely: prevention of waste, the use of technology and efficiency gains.

“The prevention of solid waste involves diverting it from the waste stream and recovering the asset before putting it back into use. A simple enough principle in practice, but the key is to achieve this in a way that does not increase costs. Technology can be a great enabler in this regard which can drive efficiencies by optimizing the entire system creating a lower cost supply chain,” says Tim Debus.

The basic idea behind the reuse of packaging materials is encompassed in the concept of the circular economy. The principles are to use the better management of materials to prevent waste thereby getting more value from the materials being used. The circular economy is directly linked to the issue of sustainability which embraces waste prevention and source reduction, which are equally important. Many see technology as the “glue” that connects these two concepts allowing the connection of devices, tracking technology or the internet of things, where materials can develop into smart or intelligent assets. The interrogation of big data can provide a better understanding and management of supply chains.

The circular economy and sustainability can be effectively incorporated into transport packaging processes but training will be required in order to maximize the recovery of materials throughout the entire supply chain. The idea is to have packaging that can retain its life over many years. In order to realize that objective, a change of thinking is required.

As Tim Debus says, “You can’t just pass the packaging problem on to someone else. Having packaging you can reuse over many years has become increasingly important and is something I will be stressing to delegates at Industrial Pack 2018.”

As is often the case, regulation can be the catalyst for change, and already governments are moving to encourage, if not require, more source reduction and recycling of materials, especially packaging. Reducing the amount of packaging in a product and its reuse, including source reduction, are the areas currently under scrutiny. Already the EU is considering having specific targets and to have packaging achieve certain thresholds. So, the future is looking clearer, but the packaging industry still needs to address these challenges. Industrial Pack 2018 will be addressing all of these issues, and more, at the conference and exhibition to be held in Atlanta on April 4 & 5, 2018.

For more information on Industrial Pack 2018, and to register free of charge, please visit:

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