The design of packaging materials is a key element in driving a more circular economy approach to their use and boosting the bottom line, according to a new report.
It comes from DS Smith as part of the company’s ‘Power of Less’ approach to the supply chain and involving design, logistics and recycling.
The company says that by applying ‘supply cycle’ principles to packaging, where linear supply chains are replaced with circular processes, and through carefully considered design and understanding of the full lifecycle, packaging can deliver tangible business benefits.
DS Smith chief executive Miles Roberts said: “Long, convoluted supply chains are traditional in a multi-channel retail environment that seems to be getting bigger, faster and more competitive by the minute.
“Globalisation, fuelled by digital and mobile technology, coupled with fierce customer demands for quality of service, is placing product manufacturers, suppliers and retailers under intense market pressure to deliver the goods – literally.
“In this environment, packaging has never been more relevant, and the benefits of a strategic and sustainable packaging solution that can lighten the load never more attractive.”
The report says that the key to successfully managing packaging in the supply chain is to optimise the entire system.
Packaging designers need to find the balance to create packaging that does the job with the least amount of material, energy and space but should also be fully recyclable and become the base material for the next supply cycle, it adds.
Adam Read, practice director at Ricardo-AEA, said: “The packaging industry must work both upstream with manufacturers and downstream with consumers to promote better design. Not just light-weighting, but material substitution and simplification to make disassembly and recycling easier.”