Recycling isn’t a luxury at WIC – it’s an everyday practice
When you think of recycling, most of what you picture is discarded packaging. Packaging is easily the single largest product category driving us to find ways to be more eco-friendly. Packaging itself is a pretty broad term, but consider what it covers – bottles, bags, boxes, wrappers, and in many cases, the materials inside the containers protecting the contents. We’re a consumer culture, and everything we buy travels from factory to consumer in some sort of container, so that means there’s more than enough packaging for potential recycling.
We’re obviously in the business of creating containers for a dizzying variety of products, so you’d be right to assume we think about recycling quite a bit. But how does a concern about packaging-related recycling translate into what we do here at WIC? Responsible material use and recycling actually takes quite a few forms for us.
There are a number of reasons why using the least amount of material possible is a big deal at WIC. Chief among those reasons is the cost-savings we can offer our customers. If we use less stuff in a box, the cost of the box drops, and in turn lowers the overall cost of the product. Now that costs are lower, our customers can sell more products to their customers. This is just one way good, old-fashioned commerce can help enhance our recycling efforts.
Returnability in design
While it’s not always possible, we try to work in an element of returnability in our container designs. For example, if a client is shipping pallets of a product, let’s say flower pots, to a big-box store like Lowe’s, we could design a container to protect those pots until they get to Lowe’s, then Lowe’s could send them back to the manufacturer who could fill them with more pots and restart the cycle. This isn’t always an option, but when it is, we like to make sure that our containers are tough enough to survive multiple round-trips, or in industry jargon, that they’re “returnable.”
Even when you try to be efficient and reduce your waste as much as possible, there are always byproducts of the production process. But that’s no reason to give up!
We recently had a client that operated a fairly remote manufacturing facility. Part of their production process involves having raw materials shipped to the facility on pallets, skids, and other transport-friendly shipping platforms. You can imagine that after a while those pallets and skids start to pile up. While working with them to streamline their packaging processes, we were able to find a plant that would take these shipping materials and grind them up, which in turn were used for animal bedding.
Neither WIC nor our client ever imagined getting into the animal bedding industry, but being responsible with your resources can often lead to benefits in unexpected places.
With all this talk about industrial-scale recycling, we actually have a unique vantage point to see the ebb and flow of the recycling process. With this unique perspective, we thought we’d add our two cents about how the average consumer could be more effective at recycling.
It’s time you thought about those big-box drop-offs!
If you want to super-charge your recycling efforts, this is one sure-fire way to make it happen.
The next time you go to Target or Best Buy or another big-box retailer, look around right as you walk through the front door. You’re likely to see some sort of collection container with marked receptacles for bottles, cans, vinyl bags, or even cardboard.
If you wanted to make a positive shift to your recycling routine, these are your best bet. Why? Because a large part of the expense in the recycling process is sorting the materials, and most of that sorting is done manually. When you toss everything in the recycling bin and drag it to the curb, somebody has to separate the glass, plastic, and paper, and those people get paid just like the rest of us. However, if you pre-sort your recyclables, this lowers the overall cost of the material, making it more attractive to manufacturers who will eventually have the opportunity to purchase the products those bottles, bags, and boxes are destined to become. If you want to do your part, all you have to do is throw that pile of empty water bottles or grocery sacks in your car the next time you make a Target run.
Being responsible with our resources is just second nature at WIC. In our experience, we’ve even found the best redesigns are good for everyone while being good for the environment at the same time.
Is there something in your operation due for a redesign? Maybe you’ve got some containers that need a bit of modernization, or a process that could use some streamlining? Let’s do what’s right for everyone and the environment and get in touch with one of WIC’s packaging specialists to see what the future looks like for your operation.