RPA Chairman Emphasizes Reuse for 2009

ARLINGTON, Va.—Reuse isn’t just an environmental buzzword.

Bob Klimko, chairman of the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA), predicts the concept will be embraced in 2009 by businesses in an effort to reduce costs throughout the supply chain and reduce damage to the environment.

The RPA defines reusable packaging as pallets, containers and dunnage designed for reuse within a supply chain. These items are constructed for multiple trips and extended life. Due to their reusable nature, the RPA says they can offer a rapid return on investment and a lower cost per trip than single-use packaging products, as well as efficient storage, handling and distribution of products throughout the supply chain.

“The recession is driving businesses to reduce costs wherever possible,” says Klimko. “At the same time, there is a global awareness that businesses must truly change their practices that deplete the earth’s resources.”

Many businesses have already embraced ways to reduce primary (end user) packaging, cutting down on the amount of energy and waste that is expended. In 2009, Klimko predicts more companies will look to achieve similar savings in the packaging—like totes and pallets—that are used to move product from the manufacturer to the retailer.

“Many innovative companies, like John Deere, the Kroger Co. and Pepsico, have already successfully implemented comprehensive reusable packaging systems,” says Klimko. “Today, businesses are more receptive than ever to reusable packaging systems as they look for new ways to reduce costs.”

The RPA is aiming to promote how reusable packaging systems can positively impact sustainability. It will provide businesses with examples, case studies, measurement tools and resources to help them meet their sustainable packaging initiatives.

In addition, the RPA says it will seek to broaden its membership, bringing in end users, government agencies, reusable packaging providers and suppliers, university leaders and key environmental groups.

“Undoubtedly, the concept of reuse will be top of mind with businesses in 2009, and the RPA is prepared to provide the tools and strategies they will need to implement secondary reusable packaging systems,” says Klimko.

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