Why You Should Choose Foam For Your Reusable Packaging Solution

With the growing, positive trend of businesses going carbon neutral and reducing wasteful, damaging packaging has seen business put their current packaging practices under scrutiny. For a long time, single-use, non-recyclable packaging has been a common method to package goods due to its ease of use and cheap cost, but going forward, this packaging will need to be at least recyclable – less not reusable!

“Multi-trip” reusable packaging is becoming a keyword in business. The ability to use the same packaging – whether for single parts/units, containers, or pallet/totes/volume goods – on numerous occasions between supplier and customer, will help businesses reduce their plastic waste whilst still being able to effectively protect their goods. Reusable packaging is already used in a “closed-loop” supply chain but also a prevalent packaging solution in after-market goods, service parts, inter-factory transit, luxury packaging protection, etc.

Furthermore, reusable packaging is becoming common practice as means of returning recyclable waste to the supplier!

Recyclable and recycled packaging is the other key element – businesses want to combine their reusable packaging needs with complementary recycled packaging.

Foam is a solution for both requirements – and there’s even a choice between open cell and closed cell foam.

Open Cell Foam:
Polyurethane foam (PU) is sponge-like with gaps of air between cells. This allows the foam to be compressed and bear load whilst being very lightweight.

PU foam is readily recycled and reconstituted by its manufacturers to produce Recon “chip” foam used widely in furniture, soft play, sports equipment, and matting.

Both PU foam and recon are available in a range of density to suit requirements.
Closed Cell Foam:
Polyethylene foam (PE) has no air gaps between cells – this allows it to be waterproof and easy to wipe clean.

PE foam is very durable and long-term, or premium packaging solution widely used to in case foam inserts, Peli cases, toolboxes, etc.

Closed cell foam can be reconstituted by manufacturers to produce a chip foam used as shock absorption and drainage underneath sports pitches, outdoor play areas, landscaping etc.

Like PU foam, PE foam is available in a range of densities to suit requirements.

Both foams have their unique properties to suit differing packages - and of course can be used together. However, this presents a great opportunity to look forward at longer term solutions and find new benefits to packaging, including: a chance to improve ergonomics and customer experience, reduce foreign object damage, increase efficiency, or promote green credentials.

Yet, another reason to opt for foam as reusable packaging relates to the plastics packaging tax. In 2018, the UK government announced a plastics tax starting in 2022 intending to significantly reduce single-use plastics, whilst drastically increase the market for recycled plastics. The tax will be applied to all packaging without a minimum of 30% recycled content; and thus far, it appears to be coming in under the radar!

To minimise the effects of this tax, businesses need to make changes to their packaging by sourcing recycled material such as recycled foam.

Both reusable and recycled foam will incur higher initial costs, but the benefit from ROI is much more obvious today with this new incoming tax.

Get in touch today to discuss recycled foam packaging, reusable packaging – or our new, specialist 30%+ recycled closed cell foam.

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