Reusable pallet protection can replace single-use and linear stretch wrap, reducing environmental impacts from manufacturing, demand for material, and end-of-life waste, along with offering a durable solution that can be managed through different parts of a logistics operation.
Reusable packaging is the preferred option after reducing problematic or unnecessary plastic. The more often reusable options are used, the greater the environmental benefit and return on investment can be.
Two reusable solutions were piloted, included CHEP’s stackable crates, which provide durable containers that optimize space and reduce waste and contamination, and collapsible bulk containers with integrated pallet.
The reusable hood passed transit tests and was successful in protecting the pallet load against damage. After 50 uses, this solution becomes more environmentally beneficial than linear stretch wrap.
The recycling workstream designed a pilot to test if post-consumer stretch film could be cleaned to a level that would allow it to be recycled back into stretch film (or other high-value applications), enabling a closed loop model.
The aim was to identify the most prevalent and hard to remove contaminants and the processes that could be used to improve the quality of recycled stretch wrap.
The pilot concluded that stretch film can be recycled back into stretch film for hand application, but quality limitations mean it is not yet suitable for mechanical application. Nonetheless, opportunities to increase recycling, whether with open or closed loop models should be targeted to improve processing technology and increase the demand for infrastructure.
The composting workstream aimed to identify whether compostable plastic is viable for use as pallet stretch wrap. Within this project, the group focused on exploring material performance through application, distribution, and live compost tests.
The film successfully composted in an industrial in-vessel composter and successfully passed the ISTA 3E testing despite some difficulties during application.
For compostable stretch wrap to be successful, different parts of the value chain need to be proactively engaged to improve composting outcomes.