As a grower-shipper, you know firsthand the importance of getting fresh produce to customers in the best condition possible. One way to ensure that your produce arrives at its destination in top shape is to use proper packaging. In recent years, there’s been a trend among produce shippers to switch from disposable packaging materials to reusable options.
There are several reasons for this trend of opting to reuse packaging, which we’ll explore in this article. We’ll also cover how Silo can help produce businesses increase productivity and streamline operations regardless of packaging choices, leading to increased profitability and efficiency across the supply chain.
Why more produce shippers are opting to reuse packaging
Reusable shipping boxes are becoming increasingly popular among produce shippers due to their cost-saving and sustainability benefits. A reusable shipping box is typically made of stronger materials, such as plastic or metal, which can better protect delicate produce during shipping.
Here, more specifically, are the benefits of reusable packaging.
1. Cost savings
One reason that produce shippers are reusing packaging is cost savings. Disposable packaging materials can be expensive, especially if you’re shipping large volumes of produce. By switching to reusable options, you can save money on your packaging costs in the long run.
For example, let's say you currently use disposable cardboard boxes for your produce shipments. These boxes cost $1 each, and you ship 500 boxes per week. That means you’re spending $500 per week, or $26,000 per year, on disposable cardboard boxes.
If you switch to reusable plastic containers that cost $5 each, your initial investment will be higher (you’ll need to purchase 500 containers at a cost of $2,500). However, you’ll be able to use these containers for an extended period of time before they need to be replaced, resulting in significant cost savings over time.
2. Waste reduction
In addition to cost savings, reusable shipping containers and boxes can also cut back on waste.
Disposable packaging, such as plastic bags and containers, is only used once before it’s discarded, often improperly, ending up as litter in streets, parks, and waterways. This litter not only looks unsightly, but can have harmful effects on wildlife and the environment.
Reusable packaging, on the other hand, can be used multiple times before it needs to be replaced, leading to a significant reduction in waste. They’re much less likely to be inappropriately disposed of, improving your company's environmental consciousness.
In addition to reducing garbage, when you reuse packaging, you also help to reduce waste like greenhouse gas emissions. After all, the production and transportation of disposable packaging materials require energy to be expended in large volumes, which creates a large carbon footprint.
Another reason that grower-shippers are opting for reusable packaging is an increased focus on sustainability.
Consumers are becoming more aware of their purchases’ environmental impact and are looking for companies that are making an effort to operate sustainably.
Reusable packaging materials allow grower-shippers to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, which can help to attract environmentally conscious customers. In fact, a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation found that 67% of consumers consider a company's environmental impact when making a purchase.
Companies that reuse packaging can differentiate their business from competitors and appeal to this growing segment of consumers.
Reusable shipping containers are also becoming more popular among produce shippers due to their durability.
Disposable packaging materials, such as cardboard boxes, can often be flimsy and prone to damage, which can lead to lost or damaged produce.
Meanwhile, reusable shipping containers are typically made of stronger materials, such as plastic or metal, which can better protect your produce during shipping.
This is especially important for produce that is more delicate or prone to bruising (e.g., berries or leafy greens). Sturdier material that can be used again will provide better protection for any fruits and vegetables, reducing the risk of damage during handling and transportation.
5. Better customer experience
Reusable packaging can also provide your customers with a better experience. When produce arrives in good condition, it not only looks more appealing, but is also more likely to be fresh, which can lead to repeat business and customer loyalty.
Reusable packaging can help to ensure that your produce is delivered in the best possible condition, leading to a better overall customer experience.
Options for reusable packaging
There are a few different options for reusable produce boxes, including:
Cardboard boxes with removable liners
Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks, and the best choice for your business will depend on your specific needs and preferences.
For example, plastic containers may be more durable, but they may also be more expensive to purchase initially.
Cardboard boxes with removable liners may be a more economical option, but they may not be as durable as plastic or wooden crates.
Wooden crates, while sturdy and attractive, may be more expensive and heavier to ship.
It’s important to consider your business circumstances and your customers when choosing reusable produce boxes.
Focus on bottom line optimization with Silo
Ultimately, the decision to reuse packaging materials is one that requires careful consideration. More and more produce shippers are opting to reuse packaging materials due to the cost savings, sustainability benefits, durability, and improved customer experience. While there are upfront costs associated with switching to reusable packaging, the long-term benefits make it a worthwhile investment for many businesses.
By carefully considering the options and choosing the right supply chain solution for your business, you can not only improve your bottom line, but also make a positive impact on the environment.
Silo can help you achieve operational efficiency with its unparalleled set of features. Benefit from features like inventory management, lot tracking, communications, and more to improve sustainability and increase your profit margins.
Book a demo with Silo today!