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Home Retail Group develops re-useable sofa bag

Home and general merchandiser firm, Home Retail Group, recognised through the Argos and Homebase brands, has launched an innovative packaging system for upholstered furniture to cut packaging waste.

The re-usable sofa bag will replace traditional sofa packaging and is introduced at the point of manufacture before items are containerised for delivery to the UK. The final design of the re-useable sofa bag is a folded envelope of reinforced bubble wary material, not unlike a giant jiffy bag. It has a protective outer covering of low density polyethelylene and an inner lining of non-woven polypropylene tissue.

It is produced in four sizes, to accommodate chairs, large and small two-seater sofas, and three seater sofas. When the lifecycle is exhausted the bags are recycled.
In the UK, there are more than five million items of upholstered furniture purchased each year.

The Home Retail Group state that substantial amounts of packaging have been required to ensure upholstered furniture is delivered in good condition. It also states that 15,000 tonnes of packaging waste from upholstered furniture is disposed of every year.

Traditionally these items are packaged using a combination of plastic sheeting and corrugated cardboard.

Home Retail Group commercial director Maria Thompson said: The sofa bag has been developed by Home Retail Group and it represents the culmination of several years testing and trial. We believe that there are clear benefits for the environment, the business and our customers by making use of re-usable and recyclable packaging and from reducing the amount of packaging associated with the products we sell. It demonstrates our continued commitment to the reduction of waste going to landfill.

The initial concept for the re-usable sofa bag was developed several years ago and piloted with funding from the Waste & Resources Action Programme with the main trial taking place over the last eighteen months.

WRAP home improvement retail programme manager Mike Robey said: Our experience of re-useable packaging indicates that the benefits are three-fold; greater convenience for the customer, cost-saving for the retailer and environmental benefits from using resources more efficiently, reducing packaging and the risk of product damage.

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