Industrial packaging is an important part of the supply chain, allowing businesses to safely store and transport large quantities of goods across the world.
But with so much demand for industrial goods, it’s also important to understand where all this packaging ends up. Rather than being thrown into landfill, the most common forms of industrial packaging – including steel drums, plastic barrels and cardboard boxes – can all be repurposed.
If you’re looking for ways to cut down on your company’s industrial waste, the experts at ITP Packaging are here to explain how industrial packaging can be repurposed.
What Is Industrial Packaging?
Industrial packaging is designed to protect goods in storage or transport. As the name suggests, it’s intended to be used on an industrial scale, allowing the safe storage of large quantities of goods or the bulk transport of goods from one destination to the next.
Industrial packaging is purpose-built and manufactured to rigid UN specifications that allow it to contain goods as diverse as chemicals and hazardous waste to beverages and foodstuff. In this respect, industrial packaging is incredibly versatile, although certain varieties are naturally more suited to certain tasks or goods.
It’s also long lasting, robust and hardwearing. This not only protects the goods inside, but also ensures that industrial packaging is well suited to being repurposed time and time again.
The most common examples of industrial packaging include:
Why Repurpose Industrial Packaging?
Industrial packaging has the capacity to be repurposed, meaning it’s intended to be reused throughout its lifespan. The ability to be repurposed means that a steel drum can be cleaned and reused to store either the same products or different products in the future.
This process can continue until the industrial packaging in question meets the end of its lifespan, and then it can often be broken down and recycled or repurposed again for entirely new tasks.
There are many benefits a business can gain from repurposing industrial packaging, but it’s important to remember that the environment stands to benefit from repurposing, too. The most important reasons to repurpose industrial packaging include:
- Extending the lifespan of industrial packaging products
- Reducing the need to create more waste or add to landfill
- Reducing the need to manufacture and produce more industrial packaging products
- Reducing energy and material consumption
- Reducing carbon gas output
- Reducing overheads and saving a business money
- Helping businesses develop their green credentials
- Benefiting the environment
How to Repurpose Industrial Packaging
The key takeaways are that repurposing stands to help the environment while also saving your business money, but how can you begin repurposing industrial packaging in your workplace?
Here are the key steps involved in the process.
Identify the Materials Being Repurposed
The first step is to recognise what the industrial packaging you’re hoping to repurpose is made from. There are many different types of industrial packaging, and although this sounds like a basic step, you must identify what materials have gone into producing it.
This gives you an indication of whether or not it’s going to be safe to repurpose the packaging for your needs and what its lifespan is like.
For example, if you intend to store food in a container, you must know if the container you are repurposing is food grade. If you are repurposing cardboard boxes, then understanding which grade of cardboard has been used is vital to understanding if the boxes will hold the goods you need them to in the future.
Identify What Has Been Previously Stored in the Packaging
It’s important to identify what was previously stored in the packaging, as this may determine or limit how the packaging can be repurposed. This may also determine how the industrial packaging needs to be cleaned or decontaminated before being repurposed.
Likewise, you need to determine what purpose the repurposed industrial packaging will have in the future, and what goods are going to be stored inside it. If a steel drum was used to store hazardous waste for example, it’s not going to be safe to repurpose the drum to store food and beverages in the future.
Identify Safety or Environmental Hazards
Before being reused, all industrial packaging needs to be thoroughly cleaned and decontaminated for safety purposes. For this reason, it’s important to know if a barrel once held chemicals or solvents that could react with cleaning materials.
You also need to identify any further health or safety risks that could arise from repurposing industrial packaging. This includes identifying any damage that the packaging may have sustained, making necessary repairs, or identifying if the packaging has reached the end of its lifespan and is no longer fit for repurposing.
Tips on What to Do With Old or Unused Packaging Materials
Now you’re ready to start repurposing industrial packaging. Here are a few of our top tips on what to do with old or unused packaging materials that have the potential to be repurposed:
- Don’t throw it away: old packaging can always find a new use.
- Be safe: find out if the packaging held dangerous, flammable or hazardous goods in its previous life.
- Be creative: drums and barrels can become water features and garden ornaments, and shipping containers can even be turned into offices or tiny houses.
- Remember to recycle: at the end of its lifespan, the repurposed packaging can be broken down and totally recycled.
Contact ITP Packaging to Find Out More About Repurposing Industrial Packaging
Industrial packaging is designed to be repurposed throughout its lifespan, thereby cutting down on waste and reducing the need to manufacture more products.
The most common varieties of industrial packaging are all well suited to being repurposed, thereby saving your business money while also helping the environment.
If you’re interested in learning more about repurposing industrial packaging, the expert team at ITP Packaging is ready to help. Contact our friendly staff today to find out more.