B&Q cuts cardboard waste by over 400 tonnes per year through packaging innovation

B&Q has replaced the cardboard packaging used to transport kitchen components to customers’ houses with a multi-trip packaging system called Longspacs, a move that slashes its annual cardboard packaging usage by 435 tonnes and cuts costs by around £80,000 a year.

B&Q two

The packaging, which has been developed over two years by B&Q and logistics specialist Ceva, is now being used to transport components such as plinths, pelmets and cornices from B&Q’s showroom fulfilment centre based in Branston, Staffordshire.

A Longspac is a 3m long polypropylene box which is covered in a woven polypropylene fabric and fitted with handles. It can be opened at both ends is rain proof, rugged and easy to handle.

Its development follows B&Q’s introduction in 2008 of the Carrierpac, a reusable cover used to transport B&Q’s kitchen worktops to customers. Both the Carrierpac and Longspac were developed by Ceva in consultation with environmental organisation WRAP, design consultants Outpace and flexible intermediate bulk container manufacturer Storesack.

‘Cost-effective’

Kevin Corby, Ceva’s business improvements manager and project manager for Carrierpacs and Longspacs, said: “We fully supported B&Q’s desire to replace single-use packaging with a greener, cost-effective and sustainable multi-use packaging format, and this has resulted in the recent move to Longspacs.”

“Anyone embarking on a major project like this needs to show they have the determination and can think in a different way; it goes without saying that an absolute commitment to succeed is essential.  For the project to be a success Wrap’s support was vital. ”

As well as cutting the amount of cardboard waste ending up in the waste stream, the project has also meant that transit damage rates have been reduced.

“Although transit-damage rates were already low, and not the major consideration, we have also enjoyed an improvement in this area,” Corby added.

‘Multi-trip packaging’

B&Q stockless manager Matt Woolley said: “The introduction of this multi-trip packaging meets our aims of excellent corporate social responsibility, exceptional product care, and reduced costs.

“Our customers are thrilled, too: they see Longspacs as very visible evidence of our values and no longer have to deal with a substantial amount of cardboard waste following their delivery.  Well done to Ceva for this excellent success.”

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Comments

2 comments

  1. Well done to B&Q, but can you answer the question about what is more environmentally friendly…

    Picking up this packaging from the customer (or does the customer return it to B&Q ?) and then returning it to the supplier for refilling of product and then back to the B&Q store or the customer recycling corrugated board (one of the few packaging items in the UK that is very easily recycled via kerbside recycling) ?

    Is this a case of solving a problem that doesn’t need solving and isn’t really a problem ?

  2. The new Government Directive says, after reducing we need to re-use where possible and then recycle. B&Q have evidently reduced first by cutting their cardboard packaging usage by 435 tonnes and are now re-using packaging that can run for several trips, designed to reduce damage. If a customer received damaged goods by transporting the components using the old style carboard packaging, then that would cause more hassle, plus you’d need to dispose of the cardboard. At least with the Longspac, when the product is delivered the packaging is returned to the distribution centre ready for re-use by the delivery team.

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