Recent posts have commented about the dearth of"green products" provided by one of the US's largest distributors of consumer and industrial packaging supplies. Because of this, the writers have encouraged readers to call the company and"give them hell". Alternatively, perhaps it's customers who should find this call.
With the rise of"green consciousness" among customers, it's surprising that there has been a minimal influence on the type of packaging provides that companies use for inner packaging when shipping products to customers. Everyday countless small parcels are shipped using oil-based, plastic packaging like bubble, air pillows, peanuts, memory, etc.. Many producers of those materials tout them as being"eco-friendly" simply based on the claim that they can be reused. The sad fact is that unlike newspaper packaging, the type of plastics used to produce these oil-based packaging supplies are nonrenewable and are tagged as un-recyclable through most community based curbside recycling programs. Annual, hundreds of tons of plastic packaging, either reused or not, finally ends up in a landfill or is incinerated.
From the mom & pop store to Fortune 500 companies, the large distributor of packaging supplies that has been referred to in the above mentioned article, sells tons of plastic protective packaging substances in most sectors of this market, also is a leading provider. But why hasn't this distributor taken a leadership role in providing packaging materials that are truly sustainable and eco friendly?
Think about the impact that Walmart has had on consumer packaging with their Packaging Scorecard. What was once seen by critics as public relations stunt to bolster their faltering public image, is currently the face of a movement towards more sustainable consumer packaging that's driving innovations in source loss, recyclable materials, package design and bio-plastics to name a few.
Another illustration is Digi-Key, that's the 5th largest distributor of electrical parts in North America. The organization's leadership in component and battery recycling and use of sustainable packaging provides has directly influenced & affected both the customers and suppliers.
Walmart & Digi-Key became leaders within their respective businesses because they realized a pull from a consumer driven market to construct sustainability into their products and processes. By responding to the pull and growing these types of initiatives, they have benefited through increased competitive edge and enhanced endurance.
The unfortunate reality is that for many businesses, the thought for what kind packaging provides to use to fulfill the box is a very low priority. Why? As it is a low priority for their customers. When packaging supplies are a priority, options are largely bottom line driven - companies place trust in materials which are the cheapest and fastest to use for getting orders out the door.
It is not easy to anticipate a large distributor of packaging materials, or any other for that matter, to take a leadership role in offering more sustainable field of packaging supplies when the stark reality is that there is no significant pull from the market to justify investments in initiatives to do so. To put it differently, if the companies that buy from these distributors have clients who are content with the packaging used for sending their orders, then there's absolutely no pull from the market.
Finally it begins with the end-user, the consumer. Rather then holding the companies that they purchase from liable for the type of packaging used, if consumers continue to accept lots of non-recyclable, plastic packaging materials together with their orders and have no problems sending these substances on to the landfill, then there's no pull out of the marketplace. There's no incentive for modification or leadership. Packaging manufacturers and their distributors will continue to market, and companies will continue to utilize, non-renewable and non-recyclable packaging supplies which were deemed to be acceptable by a consumer driven market.