According to Smithers Pira, the global market for industrial packaging was estimated at £40,3 billion last year with 28% of market share gained in Western Europe. That’s a lot of packaging material being used around the globe! With the increased focus on the environment, corporate responsibility and rising material prices, here are some ideas to help you reduce material use.

The 3Rs

To minimise environmental impact and reduce carbon footprint, material sustainability is key. The introduction of the 3Rs principle – reduction, reuse and recycling – is the biggest driver of packaging reduction.

Are there packaging products that you currently use that can be re-used within the business? Are there some smart changes you could make to the pack to aid reuse? For example, a series of interchangeable internal pack fittings for a shipping crate could simplify customer returns when sending product replacements i.e. delivering new equipment and facilitating the return of decommissioned product. With some effective material management policies, production costs and overall business operation costs can be reduced too.

Material Reduction and Recycling

If you are unable to re-use your packs, a switch to lighter, easier to recycle materials can help improve single use packs.  Technical improvements ensure that industrial packaging is lighter, more compact and stronger than before. For example, a heavy duty corrugate may be able to replace a timber pack, reducing the weight of the pack and, therefore, reducing the amount of material used.

Cutting down on the amount of raw material used in packaging can also help you to save on transport and business operations costs. There are always way to redesign a pack that can have a positive impact on shipping and operational costs.

Improving Pack Shape

Shaping and sizing a pack without compromising its protection is key to reducing storage and transport costs. It is important to select the right shape of packaging. For example, Cylinder-shaped packs are not the most efficient to handle in warehousing practices, palatalisation can be difficult and manual handling often tricky – unless you have hand holes. Where possible, a switch to rectangular-shaped packs can help manual handling, improve your cubage and better utilise pallet space.  When designing the pack shape, it is crucial to understand the complete journey and life cycle of the pack, including the fragility of the   product being packed, quantities involved, the packing process, the logistics involved and storage.


Remember, any changes made to a pack should offer the same – or improved – level of protection to the incumbent pack. Pack engineering should not be undertaken if you are compromising the quality of the product being packed.

Here at Macfarlane Packaging Design and Manufacture we offer bespoke packaging solutions to industrial markets. We can help you to ensure your products are cost effectively protected throughout the entire supply chain.

Get in touch:




Share this

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.