Does the Reusables Industry Need Standard Terms? Take the Poll!

Last week I pondered on the inconsistent usage of returnable versus reusable packaging, for example, and other reusable packaging terminology.

At the RPA LinkedIn site there was a lot of great feedback. Here are a few of them below.

Angus Wolfendale, Director at Kontrol:

“”From my experience in the industry, I have found the following terms have been applied, often interchangeably –
* Reusable or Returnable
* Packaging, Equipment, Items, Containers, Assets, Media, Inventory
* Transit or Transport
* Asset Management or Asset Tracking or Asset Tracing or Pool Management
And any combination of these can be used, such as “Returnable Transit Equipment”.

Robert Rothfuss, President and Owner, Impax Technology Group, formerly Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Buckhorn:

“… the automotive industry started experimenting with the idea of eliminating expendable packaging…Since, the automotive manufacturers were driving this change (with a lot of resistance from their suppliers by the way) they referred to these containers as” returnable containers”.

We in the industry looked at packaging change in a more comprehensive way seeing it as a sub-set of both new logistics ideas and efforts to improve sustainability. It seemed that returning the containers was just part of the cycle and the more important feature was that they were reused. The term “reusable” was also consistent with the term used in the sustainability community.

Therefore, in around 1995 a group associated with the MHIA made a conscious effort to rebrand our products as reusable’s not returnable’s.”

Jerry Welcome,  RPA President:

” I think reusables (as opposed to returnables – ed) presents a much broader view of our products and services and better reflects the true growth potential of the industry as well. “

Do you think the reusables industry would benefit from more standard terms for product categories? Why not take the poll at LinkedIn?


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