Nathan Dube

By: Nathan Dube on March 4th, 2021

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Problem Solving: How To Reduce Product Waste With Contract Packaging

Food Packaging | Fulfillment

When working with a contract packaging company, in order to make room for occasional human error or mechanical issues, you need to supply your contract packaging company with enough product to allow for some waste.


When offering contract packaging services, it is common for a contract packaging company to have to move from a warehouse that is too small. This is done to sustain the current requirements of their customer base. In this case, a move to a new location is a must.


This would be waste produced by machinery and material problems or operator errors. There has to be some extra product available so that when products fail at some point in your packaging line, your contract packaging company will be able to use that extra product to replace those items.


In the case of product waste, there is often a large amount of products left over after the order has been fulfilled. Normally, these products end up in a landfill. This is a travesty, particularly for food production companies.

In fact, 218 billion dollars worth of food products is sent to a landfill each year. Food waste happens at all stages of the food production process. Each stage of the distribution and supply chain ecosystem also produces waste at times.


Many people in the United States of America are going to bed hungry on a regular basis. With so much excessive food waste, this is absolutely unacceptable. However, navigating the complex laws surrounding food safety is a challenge. Even more so with the inability to reuse food products after expiration.


But, it does not have to be this way. There are some fairly simple ways to negate such massive amounts of food and product waste. If you are willing to work with your local contract packaging company, you can do it. There are ways to develop a closed-loop system. This can reduce or altogether stop this type of unnecessary waste.


Industrial Packaging has been offering contract packaging services for many years. During that time we have developed waste reduction protocols. These protocols have allowed us to largely reduce the waste of various products for our clients.


In this article, we will explore the way in which waste reduction may be achieved by working with your local contract packaging company.


Reducing Product Waste In Contract Packaging


When a contract packaging company receives products from their client for packaging, some waste is factored in. That way, if a product gets damaged in-house or in transit, we’ll still have extra product available to complete the job as required by the client.


Historically, when the job is complete, any extra products left over sit around in warehouses.


At Industrial Packaging, we would be able to get some of it donated to charity, but, most of the time, there was too much extra product for us to manage. Eventually, the products would expire and we would have to send them to a landfill.


This trash would sit until we had enough material to fill a trailer for the local waste management company to pick up and remove. However, after implementing some simple waste reduction protocols, we were able to greatly reduce wasted products.

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Our Solution For Reduced Waste In Contract Packaging


With all the products that we ended up throwing away, we really wanted to find a way to flip the script in regard to managing our product waste. We knew that there had to be some way to negate or at least greatly reduce the number of products that we were throwing away.


Ideally, we wanted to find a solution that would not only prevent unnecessary waste, but also give back to those who are in need while running a more sustainable waste management operation.


First we were able to work directly with a representative from our client. They told us that if we were able to return the extra product to them before it expired, then they could donate it to a food bank.


Not only was this a great solution to preventing waste, but it also saved us time and money as we no longer had to pay a waste management company to dispose of the extra products.


Here are the current protocols for our waste reduction process:


  1. Any extra product that is not used to fulfill the client's order is inventoried as soon as that order is completed. The waste product is then loaded onto a trailer.

  2. The products are sent off to our client. Once our client receives the waste products. They donate the products to a local food bank. This has created a near-zero waste factor in our facility.

That being said, things happen, and we do accrue some waste here and there. We are constantly working towards the goal of reaching zero waste in our facility. Or, as close as we can possibly get to that goal.


How To Implement Waste Reduction With Your Co-Packer


Are you currently partnered with a contract packaging company (also known as a co-packer)? Do you plan on instigating a partnership with one? Here is how you can prevent waste in your supply chain efforts.


First, you will have to work with your contract packaging company to warehouse all of your waste products. You will need to agree on a time frame for a local shipping company to pick up the waste products prior to their expiration date.


Next, you will have to work out the pick-up, shipping, and returning of the waste product to your facility. Finally, you will need to work with local charities or food banks to implement a plan to have the waste product donated to their organization.


In some cases, there may be opportunities for tax write-offs as related to the donation of goods. Either way, by implementing a process like this within your company, you can help people in need while preventing the unnecessary waste of products.


Learn More About Contract Packaging


When it comes to contract packaging, there are many more variables to consider aside from proper waste management protocols. Contract packaging involves a complex ecosystem of interrelated elements that provide clients with a smooth running supply chain.


These elements include the implementation and management of packaging machinery, packaging materials, robotics, automation, human laborers, preventive maintenance protocols, and a wide variety of other moving parts.


Contract packaging may seem like a complicated ecosystem, but, the goal of a contract packaging company is to take all of that complexity off of your plate. Then, you can focus on what your business does best.


Would you like to better understand what contract packaging has to offer your business? If you would like more information about contract packaging, check out this article about outsourcing your supply chain to a contract packaging company.


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About Nathan Dube

As the Digital Marketing Specialist at Industrial Packaging, I am honored to create content for such a phenomenal company and work with one of the greatest teams in the Packaging Industry. Whether creating a video, writing blog posts or generating other pieces of content and multimedia, I am always excited to help educate and inspire our prospects and clients to reach their highest potential in regards to their packaging processes and needs.