Groups Promote Use of Reusable Packaging

Oct. 21, 2009
Industry groups are working to increase awareness and promote the use of reusable packaging

The Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) and the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) have held events promoting the environmental, economical and supply chain efficiency benefits of using reusable packaging and asset tracking systems.

Panel discussions and seminars at the RPA Choose Reusables conference focused on the four stages involved in implementing reusable packaging, including awareness, acceptance, implementation and optimization.

“The event response was outstanding,” says Drew Merrill, RPA board member and VP of Business Development, Container Pooling Solutions (CAPS) “We were particularly pleased to see increased interest from food and beverage end users. As manufacturing customers, these companies are on the front lines of emptying product from a variety of containers and have significant influence on the materials used. With increasing pressure to go green and cut costs, the end users are taking a larger interest and demanding the use of reusable containers. With a diverse group of representatives at different stages of reusable packaging implementation, we were able to have very prolific discussions.”

While the RPA event focused on the stages of implementation, the AIAG Returnable Containers Call to Action Summit put more emphasis on managing returnable containers in the supply chain through the use of tracking technology and container management systems. A group of over 100 attendees were present to discuss forming a committee comprised of automotive OE’s and service providers. The group is tasked with developing returnable packaging implementation and use standards across all supply chains, in order to help the automotive industry better embrace and avoid typical pitfalls common with a reusable system.

“AIAG has a long history in the area of returnable containers and automatic identification,” explains Morris Brown, program manager, AIAG Supply Chain Management. “Given the technology improvements in tracking containers and strong emphasis on corporate responsibility, we feel the time is right to revisit returnable containers and tackle new projects to take cost and complexity out of the supply chain.”

The timing and strong attendance of these events proves the demand for organizations to seriously consider and evaluate returnable container options, say the RPA and AIAG representatives.

Since 1999, the RPA (formerly RPCC) has been a collaboration of manufacturers, poolers, distributors, retailers and educators gathered to promote the environmental, safety and economic benefits of reusable packaging. The RPA is the collective voice of industry-leading knowledge to advance the adoption of reusable packaging by demonstrating supply chain efficiencies, environmental benefits, ergonomic improvements, and cost advantages to end users in all industries.

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