The Rise in Green Consumerism
It all began during David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2 Series. The series urged consumers to change their views on waste packaging. Namely plastic and cardboard boxes.
The UK alone produces around 8 million tonnes of cardboard packaging each year. This equates to around 140 large boxes per person, per year. In response, Direct Cardboard Boxes launched the reuseabox initiative. (reuse-a-box)
Rather than buying brand new boxes, the Initiative creates a reuse model. The initiative allows companies to reuse each other’s cardboard boxes. This removes the unnecessary manufacturing process and provides a large cost saving.
Who is the initiative aimed at?
To make a big difference, they had to target the biggest culprits producing the most waste. These are the multi-national blue-chip companies we have all come to love. The companies with the biggest buying power and the most market influence.
They had to figure out a way to make them change their ways. This would make smaller companies more likely to follow suit.
A well known UK food manufacturer was sending over 1 million boxes to a recycling plant every year. The boxes were used to transport their pizza sleeves from the packaging manufacturer. But, the boxes they were throwing away were still in a like-new condition.
Jack, the MD at Direct Cardboard Boxes devised a plan. He made an agreement between his company and the food manufacturer. This agreement enabled him to buy all those boxes on a contract supply. He now had a yearly contract supply of 1 million like-new cardboard boxes which he had to find a market for, and so it began…
Creating Supply Chains for Used Cardboard Boxes
It turns out that this cardboard box is the ideal size for the plastic moulding industry. These companies manufacture small plastic parts for different industries. It so happened, that the box he had a contract for was the same box the plastic companies were buying brand new.
As we all know, the plastic industry is getting a lot of heat at the moment due to the severe climate crisis. This crisis has sparked many new ventures, such as Metta Creative. Jack had the perfect solution for them. His used boxes would help support their sustainability goals. By buying used cardboard, they would be reducing their carbon footprint.
The initiative has now caught on to several other blue-chip companies. RPC Plastics & The Royal Mail are two big names working with a reuse model. The cardboard they once recycled is now being reused by smaller businesses across the UK.
Jack is also working with a DHL depot where they used to buy up to 40,000 new pallet boxes every year. The depot has since switched to used pallet boxes. This is now saving them over £25k a year in costs and offsetting their PRN obligation by £14k
So what are the benefits?
Reusing boxes has many obvious environmental benefits. But, the main social benefit is a reduction in waste and brand new jobs for the community. Companies can also increase their profit margins by switching to a reuse model.
Jack is also opening his doors to the local community to help them learn new skills. Working with the local council, people will be able to apply for a placement to work at Direct Cardboard. The aim is to help train them for work. These skills include general warehousing, forklift driving, accounting, I.T and many more.
1 tonne (7 pallets) of used cardboard boxes:
- Saves up to 17 trees
- Uses up to 700 times less water
- Produces up to 45 times less CO2
- Uses up to 10 times less energy.
The Reuseabox initiative offers many commercial benefits As Well
A used cardboard box costs up to 60% less than a new one, increasing a companies profit margins. Larger companies who have a PRN obligation can benefit even further. Buying used cardboard boxes will offset the cost of their PRN.
BUSINESSES THAT HANDLE PACKAGING MUST FINANCE THE RECOVERY AND RECYCLING OF PACKAGING MATERIALS. THIS IS IN PROPORTION TO THE AMOUNT THEY HAVE PLACED ON THE MARKET. THIS FEE IS KNOWN AS A PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY – PRN – OBLIGATIONTaken from Clarity.eu.com
Is Your Company Sustainable?
If you throw away reusable resources, then you are being counterproductive.
Almost every company in the world has a sustainability plan/policy/obligation. Unfortunately, that isn’t enough. The true form of sustainability is using our natural resources responsibly. Doing so will preserve our resources, making them last much longer. This will also reduce the vast amount of waste – a global problem.
Many companies believe that buying sustainably sourced products is enough. Or having a recycling plan means they are doing their part, but this isn’t the case.
If you own, manage or work in a company that has a cardboard recycling bin or skip, we challenge you to go through it. We can almost guarantee that you are throwing away perfectly good resources. Those resources could be reused by another company, or even a family moving home. If you can’t find somebody to take it in, then Direct Cardboard Boxes will.
A company cannot claim to be sustainable if they are throwing away good resources. You are simply countering all your efforts. By not handling your waste and purchases properly, you are weakening your policy.
Albeit, not all companies are eligible for a reuse model. For example, not all food manufacturers can reuse a cardboard box. Their boxes need to be 100% contaminate free. But the majority of businesses can. Companies that use vast amounts of cardboard should be open to the idea of a reuse model.
We all have to be responsible and in doing so, we must change how we operate. You may have been saying you don’t have another solution to handle this issue. That recycling was the best option. But now you have a new best option, reuse-a-box.
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