Waste Management
Packing & Unpacking Area
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Packing & Unpacking Area

The quantity of waste produced by packaging is an important one. For example, plastic packaging represents 26% of the total volume of plastics used (Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation).

Most of the time the use of pallets or cardboard as packaging is not well optimized and this results in an important amount of waste being created. Companies that aim to be more sustainable should tackle this issue and take action to reduce packaging waste and better manage it. It will also result in cost savings.

This part provides solutions that companies can put in place to reduce their packaging waste.

Pallets (wooden, plastic, metal) - Adopt a Sustainable Approach
Cost
LOW
Cost
MEDIUM
Cost
HIGH
EFFORT
low
EFFORT
medium
EFFORT
HIGH
IMPACT
low
IMPACT
MEDIUM
IMPACT
HIGH

Upstream:

  • Use wooden pallet with lighter wood (make sure it still fits load capacity requirements)
  • Use returnable pallets (typically plastic) - highly suitable for local and regular partners. More complicated for overseas operations but still possible.

Downstream:

  • Resell/Return excess of pallets to second-hand pallet suppliers
  • Contact neighbouring facilities to exchange pallets if possible
  • Send broken pallets to recycling

2 billion

The number of pallets in circulation in the US with a majority of them replaced each year.
(Circular Supply Chain Inc.)

50%

Of the US annual hardwood harvest is used to produce new pallets.
(Circular Supply Chain Inc.)

Suppliers that provide solutions:
Wood Pallets manufacturer
LHT Holdings Limited

LHT Holdings Limited is a manufacturer of high-quality wooden pallets, boxes and crates in Singapore. In addition to the manufacturing business, they also organise the recycling of wood products to be repaired, reused, or recycled into new wood products.

Environmentaly friendly packaging manufacturer
Greenpac

Greenpac offers environmentally friendly packaging solutions in Asia, especially pallets with its RSCP™ Pallet. They are made to use few material to light weight and decrease freight costs, to be reused or easily recycled.

Cardboard (pad, boxes) - Adopt a Sustainable Approach
Cost
LOW
Cost
MEDIUM
Cost
HIGH
EFFORT
low
EFFORT
medium
EFFORT
HIGH
IMPACT
low
IMPACT
MEDIUM
IMPACT
HIGH

Upstream:

  • Use returnable packaging
  • Go from triple-wall to double-wall to single-wall cardboard box (if suitable for your product)
  • When managing products with variable size, use a 3D Packing Machine to optimise use of cardboard (see CMC Machinery)
  • Reuse cardboard pads from other suppliers
  • Use second-hand cardboard boxes

Downstream:

  • Reuse cardboard boxes from suppliers
  • Use old cardboard as fillers to remove the need for bubble wrap and plastic chips
  • Collect and sell to a recycler

46 gallons of oil

saved along with 4000kW of electricity, 9 cubic yards of landfill space, 17 trees and 7000 gallons of water saved by recycling one tonne of cardboard rather than making new cardboard.
(Cardboard Balers)

38%

only of cardboard and paper waste were recycled in Singapore in 2020.
(NEA)

Suppliers that provide solutions:
Paper waste management
Tay Paper Recycling Pte Ltd

This company strives to create a better liveable world through recycling. They offer waste management, recycling (paper specialist) and document shredding + recycling services to clients and workplaces. Waste management and recycling services for public and commercial facilities.

Paper recycling, waste paper import, pre-consumer waste export
ST Paper Resources Pte Ltd

ST Paper Resources have more than 20 years of experience as a paper recycling, importer of waste paper and exporter of pre-consumer waste. The company operates from its 40,000 sqft office and factory with a computerized automated system, consisting of fully automated two-ram balers with the capability to bale up to 50 tons of recyclable material per hour.

Besides collection, recycling and trading, they provide off-site confidential shredding services and a wide range of compactors and specialist containers - request a free audit for your business needs.

Shrink Wrap (LDPE - plastic) - Adopt a Sustainable Approach
Cost
LOW
Cost
MEDIUM
Cost
HIGH
EFFORT
low
EFFORT
medium
EFFORT
HIGH
IMPACT
low
IMPACT
MEDIUM
IMPACT
HIGH

Upstream:

  • If your products are not susceptible to moisture, consider removing shrink wrap and use only pallet strapping
  • Consider using returnable pallet covers (particularly suitable for warehouses with low automation)
  • If wrapping manually, use a wrapping machine instead
  • Use a pre-stretched plastic shrink wrap (wrapping machine must be suitable)

Downstream:

  • Collect separately plastic wrap and sell it to a recycler

900 million

Kilograms of plastic waste are discarded every year in Singapore.
(WWF)

4%

is the recycling rate of plastic waste in Singapore in 2020.
(NEA)

Suppliers that provide solutions:
Global Waste Management Company
Plaspulp Union Company

Plaspulp Union Company is a Global Waste Management Company that offers comprehensive recycling services, including logistics and dismantling, recovery of material for recycling and non-recyclable material disposal.

Plaspulp Union looks into partnerships with companies, to work out a resource recovery business model.

Improve Product packaging (upstream)
Cost
LOW
Cost
MEDIUM
Cost
HIGH
EFFORT
low
EFFORT
medium
EFFORT
HIGH
IMPACT
low
IMPACT
MEDIUM
IMPACT
HIGH

Upstream:

There are 3 or 4 types of packaging: primary packaging, service packaging, secondary packaging & tertiary packaging. For each of them, challenges and strategy to implement are the same... Start with the packagings you use the most regularly, with the highest volume or with the highest cost.

REDESIGN:

  • Redesign packaging to make it reusable (first objective), or recyclable, or compostable (not suitable at the moment for products destined to Singapore). Note that a change in the design of packaging will impact the customer's perception and requires a marketing exercise. Moving towards a returnable packaging might require a reassessment of the business model.
  • Use PREP from Label for Recycling (L4R) for assessing the recyclability of packaging.
  • Reduce the number of materials used (the more materials you use, the harder it is to recycle).

For high-level guidance on the overall sustainability of different packaging materials, check out the free online WWF Alternative Material Tool

To design recyclable packaging for Singapore,  work with the Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP) of Label for Recycling

REDUCE:

  • Eliminate unnecessary packaging
  • Reduce the use of materials (= make it lighter) by shortening or thining down material, or by using lighter alternative materials.
  • Aim for packaging free

REUSE:

  • For B2B with high frequency local partners, implement a reusable packaging that you can pick up at the next delivery. Particularly relevant for daily food delivery in B2B
  • For B2C, it is more challenging and must be aligned with the company image. Consider outsourcing the management of consumer returnable packaging (see BarePack model for example)

26%

of the total volume of plastics used is plastic in packaging.
(Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation)

95%

of plastic packaging material value, or $80–120 billion annually, is lost to the economy after a shortfirst use.
(Ellen Mac Arthur foundation)

Suppliers that provide solutions:
Online Platform assessing the recyclability of your packaging
L4R

Label for Recycling (L4R) is a not-for-profit organisation which partners with recyclers, brand owners, and manufacturers to reduce the harmful impact of packaging in South East Asia.

We are a technology company specialised in packaging recyclability assessment. We equip brand owners and manufacturers with tools to design truly recyclable packaging in Singapore.

Our services include:

  • Packaging recyclability assessment
  • Labelling for environmental claims
  • Training
Recycle Product Packaging (downstream)
Cost
LOW
Cost
MEDIUM
Cost
HIGH
EFFORT
low
EFFORT
medium
EFFORT
HIGH
IMPACT
low
IMPACT
MEDIUM
IMPACT
HIGH

Downstream:

  • Collect, segregate and recycle materials from out of specs products.
Suppliers that provide solutions:
Glass waste collector
P&R Resource Management Pte Ltd

P&R Resource Management Pte Ltd organises the collection and transportation of glass waste from F&B and industrial sectors across Singapore. Once collected the glass is sent to a sorting facility in Malaysia, in Pasir Gudang (next to Johor Bahru), where the glass cullet is cleaned and sorted by colours. The sorting facility is operated by PUM Group. From there, the sorted cullet is sent to glass manufacturers.

Scrap Metal collector
Metal Link

Metal Link Hardware Pte Ltd specialises in the buying and selling of all types of scrap metal - from ferrous to non-ferrous metals.

Scrap metal & General Waste collector
Hup Lee Leong (HLL)

Hup Lee Leong is a company based in Singapore specialised in the collection and sorting of scrap metals such as Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Scrap and some general waste (wood, plastic, rubber...).

Reseller & Reuser of containers
Hock Ann Seng Industries

Hock Ann Seng Industries Pte Ltd is a company based in Singapore which organises the cleaning for reselling/reuse of industrial containers such as metal drums, plastic drums, Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC).

Tackle Product Loss (from faulty machinery or products mismanagement)
Cost
LOW
Cost
MEDIUM
Cost
HIGH
EFFORT
low
EFFORT
medium
EFFORT
HIGH
IMPACT
low
IMPACT
MEDIUM
IMPACT
HIGH

Upstream:

  • If you have large volume of lost products, investigate the reasons and address them.

Downstream:

  • If possible repair, repack and redirect towards second-hand or refurbished branches
  • Collect and send to recycling
Suppliers that provide solutions:
Buddies - Experience sharing

The « green journey » may feel overwhelming sometimes, but you are not alone.

Our Buddies have tried, succeeded, failed to implement change in their companies. They share their experience so you can learn, take shortcuts, get inspired and ask questions.

Everybody can become a Buddy and give back to the community; if you are keen, get in touch with us.

Rémi Cesaro
Founder & Director - Zero Waste City

Founder and Director of the consulting business Zero Waste City, Rémi provides engineering consulting services to large commercial and industrial facilities on waste management, energy efficiency, and packaging design.

He has gained a strong experience as a consultant covering a wide range of industries and technologies in New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore.

He is a certified TRUE Advisor (Total Resource Use Efficiency) by the U.S. Green Building Council Inc. This certification recognised his knowledge in Zero Waste programs and his ability to support businesses to achieve the TRUE Zero Waste certification.

Andrew Tay
Business Development Director - KGS

I started my career as a mechanical engineer for 5 years and joined TayPaper Recycling in 2018. Tay Paper Recycling has grown from an informal scrap dealer to now a leading paper focused recycling company in Singapore. On top of just recycling, we also offer confidential data disposal services to help clients comply with PDPA, GDPR and recycle at the same time. I am now working at KGS, an e-waste and data sanitization company.