Our top reusable packaging news stories (excluding pallet-centric articles) are listed below. They cover diverse topics from North America and Europe, including new products and services, reuse aspirations, financial transactions, and more.
Per our top pallet news stories article, we look at the period from December 1, 2021, to November 30, 2022. A few of our December stories, including the SABIC/Cabka collaboration on the new CabCube 4840, will be solid contenders for next year’s list.
Without further fanfare, here is our 2022 list.
Top reusable packaging news stories for 2022
Our top story of the year was our updated guide for reusable pallet wrappers. Reusable wraps can be used instead of stretch wrap in many applications. According to vendors, reusable pallet wrap systems reduce or eliminate the need for plastic stretch wrap, helping customers save money, improve ergonomics, and provide superior product protection.
Why did it come out on top? Perhaps because this category of reusables has not been covered extensively so there was greater interest.
2 Cabka and CHEP sign multi-year contract for supply of reusable containers out of recycled plastics
Clocking in at #2 was a story announcing an agreement between Cabka and CHEP for the supply of reusable bulk containers. The agreement leverages Cabka’s extensive product development, material, and processing know-how. The container solution is fully customized to CHEP’s performance requirements and is set to maximize the use of recycled materials, facilitating a fully circular approach. Delivery of the first volumes is anticipated for mid-2023. Over the entire term, the contract will contribute approximately EUR 9 million in annual revenues.
The Coca-Cola reusable packaging initiative is one that the company describes as an industry-leading goal to significantly boost its use of reusable packaging. By 2030, the company aims to have at least 25% of all beverages globally across its portfolio of brands sold in refillable/returnable glass or plastic bottles, or in refillable containers through traditional fountain or Coca-Cola Freestyle dispensers. As of 2020, the company already was using 16% reusables, so we are talking about a 0.9% increase annually between 2020 and 2030. It doesn’t sound quite as compelling when the numbers are presented differently.
In May, Cabka stated that it had entered into a multi-year agreement with Target, the major U.S.-based retailer, representing approximately EUR 13 million in 2022 revenues for Cabka. Cabka expects further orders on a quarterly basis. Over the previous three years, Cabka said it had developed and tested the reusable large foldable container solution in close cooperation with Target, applying Cabka’s Intellectual Property and Target’s logistical expertise. The development, it underscored, is an excellent example of Cabka’s innovative customized solutions strategy, providing Target with an all-tailormade solution for heavy-duty reusable plastic containers.
Thieves beware. Advanced tracking technologies are helping close the loop on reusable packaging theft, thanks to this story made public by the Reusable Packaging Association. In this January 2022 article, we report on a major plastic container theft sting executed in Cook County, Illinois. It resulted in the discovery of an illegal plastic regrind operation.
The regrind and intact containers discovered at the operation are valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The successful operation was an integrated effort driven by IFCO SYSTEMS, the global leader of reusable packaging containers (RPCs), and involving two national retailers, a private detective agency, and the Cook County Sheriff’s office. Advanced tracking devices subtly affixed to IFCO containers enabled the group to pinpoint the time and place of thefts, and ultimately, the illegal regrind location, leading to arrests.
And speaking of how tracking technology can help eliminate reusable container loss, this exclusive, inside look from Guardian Container Consulting reveals how they have achieved impressive results for their clients. “There is an art to supply chain tracking in this manner,” stated Ben Hesskamp, CEO at Guardian Container Consulting. “Existing inventory and logistics systems are meant to track supply chain movements that are moving correctly. Our system focuses solely on finding where they are not moving correctly.”
Guardian’s technology utilizes cellular networks, WiFi, and GPS to give absolute location data on OEM fleets by tracking reusable packaging (plastic knockdown containers, metal racks, plastic pallets, etc.). Guardian’s GPS does not require additional system hardware or inventory reporting by third parties, which it states is probably the most notable difference between its technology and other tracking technologies like RFID.
Back in February, IFCO announced the introduction of a newly designed collapsible egg crate, purpose-built to transport fresh eggs and dairy products through the entire supply chain – from the producer to the point of sale. The egg and dairy category has experienced growing demand for durable, efficient, sustainable, and modern packaging solutions to solve current and emerging supply chain challenges, the company noted. Recognizing this demand, IFCO product experts created concepts and worked collaboratively with egg producers and retailers to develop this industry-first solution.
The value of reusable packaging continues to be recognized through expanding usage, as showcased in our #8 story.
“The seafood industry tends to lag behind others, and doesn’t adjust to change well,” said Mark Fromm, Wegmans seafood category merchant, in explanation. “We have wanted an alternative to foam coolers for a while, and as our sustainability team continued to roll out our Zero-Waste program to more and more stores, we started hearing feedback from our store teams about the foam coolers, and we knew it was time to find a more sustainable option.”
Our feature on ReusePac along with the company’s owner and product designer Bill Xia, came in at #9. The range of potential applications for the durable and strong ReusePac range is broad, according to Xia, including fashion, supply chain, consumer products, e-commerce, groceries, manufacturing, healthcare, and much more. One additional attraction is that no work is required by material handlers to close the box bottom.
Typically, pre-show pressers only move the readership needle for a short period before the show, as with release before The Battery Show Europe at the Stuttgart Messe. It generated enough interest, however, to sneak into the Top 10.
“Standardization and sustainability are buzzwords when it comes to the EV battery supply chain. But with a moving feast of electric batteries and current supply chain challenges, we are in a ‘just in case’ rather than a ‘just in time’ scenario,” said Safak Aktekin, Senior Commercial Director, CHEP Automotive EU & NA. “We can’t wait for battery standardization to happen before we address sustainability and waste. That’s why at CHEP, we work with standardized containers, but modular inserts that allow us to adapt reusable packaging – in a sustainable way and on a global level – to the ever-changing needs of the automotive industry.”
That concludes our top reusable packaging news stories for 2022.