Designing green into packaging | Case study | Environment Report 2012

Innovation is at the heart of the FMCG industry and the pressure is always on to find the next sustainable step forward. Simon Creasey looks at one example of a pack that work hard to help achieve that goal

Pregis web

Pregis Earth Aware CD and DVD packaging

The packaging of packaging is one of the most overlooked areas when it comes to waste reduction. As a result it’s often one of the worst offenders. That’s one of the reasons why Pregis Protective Packaging Europe – part of the Jiffy Packaging group – decided to look at the way it was distributing its own products.

“We deal with more than one customer that uses large quantities of mailing bags for packing CDs and DVDs so we make very large deliveries to these companies,” says Fiona MacDougall, national account manager (UK) at Pregis.

“These bags are all boxed, they’re all going to one destination and they’re all being used for one specific purpose.”
What typically happens at the warehouse of Pregis’ customers is the mail bags have to be decanted from the corrugated packaging before being moved into position on the packing station. “So there’s extra handling prior to the products being used and then they had to dispose of the corrugated,” says MacDougall.

The solution, which the company has christened Earth Aware, was refreshingly straightforward. “In order to keep our products together we need to band them so we bundled them together and popped them straight onto a pallet.

So all the end user needs to do is slice the band and he’s got workable units ready to transport to the packing stations, which cuts out a lot of the handling. You also get more on a pallet and on a truck so it has transport efficiencies as well as the savings you make on disposal of the outer materials and handling,” adds MacDougall.

The savings achieved are phenomenal. On the company’s AK Size one mail bags for CD shipments it saves 700kg of corrugated per trailer. Now the company is looking to roll it out to the rest of the business.

“There’s no reason why we should stop at mailers,” says MacDougall. “There’s an opportunity to put this strategy on other products that we produce and look at ways we package our materials.”



  1. “The packaging of packaging is one of the most overlooked areas when it comes to waste reduction. ”

    Really. Not my experience.

    Well, other than where designed-in reuse could be incorporated.

  2. Oh, have a look around. Secondary and tertiary packaing is a huge source of plastic waste. Look at all the shrink wrap Coke uses binding their 6 packs of plasti cbottles together for shipping and display. Then look at all the shrink wrap used to hold that on to pallets. 3 Layers of plastic just to sell a bottle of Coke!