3M recently announced a new type of packaging billed as a replacement for corrugated cardboard boxes in a Fast Company article. The Flex & Seal shipping roll is a plastic–based packaging material that creates a right–sized envelope for small e-commerce items under three pounds. While it has the ability to work in some specific situations, there’s a big issue that we’d like to talk about — Plastic.
It is shocking that in 2019 that any company would think that the solution to our packaging problems would be more plastic. The statistics are clear, just 15 percent of the plastic packaging we use today is left unrecycled. And, because plastic takes hundreds if not over a thousand years to decompose, nearly all plastic that has ever been created is still in existence today in our landfills and oceans.
Although the folks at 3M who are marketing Flex & Seal say it is recyclable, this is only the case if it is taken to a special facility. For your average consumer, this is an inconvenience meaning virtually none of it is going to get recycled. Even worse, unlike many other envelopes that contain a paper exterior and plastic bubble lining, the Flex and Seal is 100 percent plastic.
However, there is one way in which the Flex & Seal is more sustainable: it creates right–sized packages that are smaller than many of the boxes used by your average e-commerce company. This means more packages will be able to fit on a truck and less trucks will be needed to deliver the same amount of packages. It’s a start in the right direction.
With that in mind let’s talk about sustainable packaging and why intelligent, right-sized packaging matters.
Many businesses are surprised to hear that research conducted by Packsize shows that the number one customer complaint from e-commerce and Internet retail customers is excessive packaging. This is remarkable, as excessive packaging surpasses concerns such as damaged products or receiving the wrong item. This is proof that the public is very aware of the damage excessive packaging has on the environment.
Today, twenty-six percent of the corrugated used in packaging is unnecessary. Consider that there are 5.8 million tons of paper used to make boxes too large. This is a big problem, but at least these materials are easily recyclable. In fact, 75 percent of paper is recycled, compared to the 15 percent of plastics mentioned earlier. Companies also need to be aware of the impact that excessive packaging has on the number of trucks on the road. The larger the package, the less room available in trucks. Oversized packaging isn’t in the best branding interest of the companies shipping the products or the consumers who purchase them.
Even though this “excessive packaging” is the main issue that Flex & Seal says it resolves, and is the main reason it’s being touted as a replacement for corrugated cardboard, this problem has already been solved using corrugated packaging. And now corrugated packaging is automated.
Packsize’s new X7 automated packaging machine can produce perfectly shaped boxes at speeds of up to 1,200 boxes per hour, or one box every three seconds. The efficiency gains are staggering and can save a businesses tremendous amounts of time and money. In fact, Packsize has discovered that on average between 20 and 25 percent of packaging-related expenses can be saved simply by utilizing modern technology to form-fit packaging to the product inside.
The savings associated with helping the environment starts with the material itself. When there are less materials used, there’s less cost. When a box is right-sized, there’s no need for filler material, which will also helps reduce costs. When modern technology and automation is factored into the box making equation, labor costs can be reduced or eliminated. What’s even more attractive than all of these savings points is by utilizing the proper packaging, businesses can eliminate the number one customer complaint — excessive packaging.
The environment is something we should all care about. And because customers are passionate about eliminating waste, companies should take advantage of marketing their products as shipped in eco-friendly packaging. This selling point can easily sway a consumer from one brand to another.
Packsize’s custom, automated packaging solutions will save any business valuable time and money, and help with the environment by eliminating excess packaging waste.
Are you ready to eliminate void fillers and other plastic packaging materials? Contact Packsize today!