What good is ‘green packaging’ if your products arrive damaged?

As we noted in our newsletter a few issues back, corrugated cardboard is looking greener every day, bolstered by news like that from the Corrugated Packaging Alliance, whose recent industry life cycle assessment study uncovered significant per unit reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, due in large part to increased recycling efforts.

Still, there’s a not-so-silver lining behind otherwise positive news like this.

In their zeal to meet customer demands for more “earth friendly” packaging, many companies may be missing the bigger picture of an even more costly waste from goods damaged in transit.

In summarizing his recent webinar, Dan Healey, director of sustainability for Charlotte, NC-based Sealed Air, reveals “the significant carbon impact of damaged goods in the modern e-commerce supply chain and how retailers can measure the effect that damage is having on sustainability goals and the bottom line.”

As Healey showed in his recent webinar, manufacturing and disposing of the actual packaging materials represents a mere 5% of the total environmental impact of shipping. When products are damaged and disposed of, the environmental impact skyrockets to almost half the total environmental cost of shipping (48%).

While sustainability issues are important, working more diligently at preventing damage should go far in lowering a company’s carbon footprint. And companies would do well to educate consumers about “why certain packaging materials are chosen over others,” said Healey, whose company invented Bubble Wrap® more than 60 years ago. “The true sustainability impact doesn’t come from whether or not it’s made of recycled material or if it can be recycled curbside, it lies in the ability to eliminate the risk of damage and eliminate the risk of that item doubling, tripling or even quadrupling its environmental footprint.”

In the end, Healey said companies should not view their sustainability objectives and damage prevention separately.

“We can’t recycle our way out,” Healey added in his webinar recap. “Making products more recyclable is a big step, but we also have to make sure those products take less energy to produce, fewer trucks to haul and reduced fuel to transport.”

CorrBox can help your company ship and protect your products with a host of innovative packaging solutions. Contact us today at for more information at (949) 248-5880 or drop us a note at support@corrbox.com.

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