Every industry strives to increase efficiency in its operations to strengthen the business and save money – and grocery is no different. Reusable packaging can make a vital contribution, argues Tosca.

Waste, in every sense, is synonymous with inefficiency. In grocery, there are four main areas where waste can be a consistent problem: product waste, labour, storage and packaging. Reusable packaging is uniquely positioned to help reduce waste across the board.

Protection, time and space

Firstly, reusable packaging is stronger than single-use alternatives, both protecting the product and preventing waste. It is designed to withstand many trips and created with more consideration for function.

While single-use packaging is created as cheaply as possible to be economically viable, reusable packaging can be used hundreds of times. Manufacturers can therefore afford to design the ideal packaging, spreading the expense over the many trips the product will make through the supply chain.

Usually this consideration for ideal design is applied to how the product inside fares throughout its trip. Reusable packages have reinforced walls, stronger bases, and more complex latches to prevent product damage. Better protecting your products allows you to sell more of what you order at a higher quality.

Reusable packaging is also designed to be easier to use, saving workers time and reducing labour costs. Single-use packaging such as corrugated often breaks down, forcing staff to compensate. Reusable packaging stays strong and does not have to be maintained, cleaned up, re-taped or broken down for disposal.

Tosca produce packaging crop

Different box sizes can be another problem area for staff, with backrooms often filled with assorted boxes. This can lead to mismatched boxes being stacked clumsily on top of each other, creating disorganisation and mess.

Reusable packaging often comes in consistent sizes and is designed with nested footprints so crates stack neatly and securely on top of each other. Most reusable products are foldable as well, allowing workers to neatly store empty crates out of the way. By offering a better and more consistent design, reusable packaging promotes a cleaner backroom and reduces wasted space.

Improving sustainability

Perhaps most importantly, single-use packaging is unsustainable. Even corrugated, one of the most popular single-use packaging options, is wasteful. Though it can be recycled, much of it ends up being wasted due to unrecyclable wax coatings, shortened fiber lengths from previous recycling, or greasy food damage corrupting the material. Whether marked as recyclable or not, single-use packaging fills landfills in high volumes every year.

Reusable products offer a more sustainable alternative because they do not need to be disposed of and can be reused hundreds of times. In most cases, plastic crates are recycled when they finally break down after many uses. These recycled products usually go into the creation of more reusable packaging, continuing the sustainable cycle.

And as mentioned above, the reduction of packaging waste is beneficial to retailers beyond sustainability. Because reusable packages are created with more consideration and stronger design, they offer your supply chain better functionality, cutting waste and saving money.

For grocery, the sustainability question is another challenge alongside the shift to e-commerce and consumer habits changed by the pandemic. As efficiency grows increasingly important to the bottom line and consumers demand more sustainability, reusable packaging offers an answer to these challenges.

Why choose Tosca?

Tosca, a global leader in reusable packaging solutions, solves unique supply chain challenges, bringing efficiency and sustainability. The company acquired Polymer Logistics in December 2019 and Contraload in August 2020, joining three major players in the global food supply chain space into one stronger partner with more than a century of combined experience.

Tosca enables a future of sustainable solutions for packaging and transport and helps to make disposable packaging a thing of the past. Offering crates, pallets, bulk containers, displays, and more, Tosca is ready to serve customers with top-of-the-line customer service, a more robust portfolio of products, a growing and global network, and nimble and innovative R&D and manufacturing capabilities.