Sustainable or Costly Mistake?

Sustainability is the hot topic in packaging and supply chain management.

The sustainability of reusable packaging systems depends on the cost and benefits to the supply chains that use them. Reusable shipping containers can be a profitable and sustainable investment - or a costly mistake.

It has been more than 15 years since the automobile industry began its reusable plastic container initiative for the purpose of reducing waste. During that time, reusable containers have gained market share in other industries too, bringing with them other benefits in terms of reduced material usage and lean production opportunities.

There have also been barriers to the use of reusable containers. A primary obstacle has been a lack of knowledge of the best practices and an understanding of how reusable packaging affects profitability. There is a need to understand the reverse logistics options and how increases in the cost of materials and transportation affect the cost of reusable packaging systems.

Therefore, this Fall the Michigan State University School of Packaging will present an update on the current issues in reusable packaging for supply chains, September 4-5, on the campus of Michigan State University. Under the direction of Dr. Diana Twede, professor School of Packaging, this update will explore the costs, benefits and relationships involved in a successful reusable container system. Topics will include:

• The Business Value of Supply Chains;

• Costs and Value of Reusable vs. Expendable Shipping Containers;

• Return on Investment of Reusable Packaging;

• The Sustainability Argument for Reusable Packaging;

• The Contribution of Reusable Shipping Containers to Sustainable Communities;

• Durability Testing of Reusable Packaging: Issues and Procedures;

• Lean Production Opportunities;

• Reverse Logistics Options;

• Building products applications.

An Exhibit Center will give a targeted opportunity to meet with suppliers of a range of products and services for reusable packaging applications. The exhibits showcase new and emerging packaging systems, third party services, and technologies developed to support reusable packaging in supply chains.

For more information, visit for full details and registration material.

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