The image of plastic has deteriorated during the last few years influenced by a higher public awareness in relation to the accumulation of waste and the environmental impact of this material. Figures like the ones that show how humans throw away enough plastic to circle the world four times every year obliterate this material’s reputation.
However, plastic is extremely useful for transportation and the conservation of certain products, such as food. For this reason, companies around the globe are already working to transform its manufacturing and usage processes, so that its use becomes increasingly sustainable. In this landscape, testing your packaging implies the capability of knowing this material in-depth and proposing alternatives that are more environmentally-friendly.
Attain higher sustainability by testing your packaging
Package testing involves a series of processes to evaluate the performance and chemical, physical and mechanical properties of your primary, secondary and tertiary packaging.
There are multiple packaging testing methods in existence (vibration simulation, drop test, impact test, etc.) to reproduce the hazards associated with the distribution cycle. These tests can evaluate the protective ability of packaging, determine whether it fulfills existing regulations on cargo stability and safety, and allow for controlling the toxicity of its components or their interaction with the goods that it contains. There are also specific tests for plastic packaging, which allow, among other things, to identify materials and study the load stability.
There are two main lines of research that could help your company attain an optimized plastic packaging:
- Packaging testing to evaluate how the packaging reacts to new materials. Many companies are opting to reduce the use of traditional plastic and find alternatives in sustainable materials such as bioplastics and recycled or reusable materials. In this regard, package testing allows you to know the performance and protective ability of these materials against the hazards of the distribution cycle.
- Testing solutions to evaluate the stability of the load and avoid over and under-packaging, since an optimized package is one that strikes a balance between cost, safety and sustainability.
A clear example in the case of plastic packaging is the testing and optimization of the amount of stretch film being used.
This means that testing your packaging by using testing technologies will have three specific advantages for your company:
- Increase safety by guaranteeing that the stretch film has been correctly applied and that the load is stable.
- Improve the efficiency of processes by defining an adequate baling protocol.
- Determine the right amount of film to use, optimizing the amount of packing material, which in turn translates into a reduction of greenhouse gasses generated during production and transportation, and a reduction of costs in materials and waste.
Through the implementation of packaging testing, companies advance toward the final goal of achieving a circular plastic packaging use. Where plastic used to be manufactured, used and turned into waste in the past, today the goal is designing a package that is reusable, recyclable or that can disappear through composting processes.
Benefits obtained by testing your packaging
Testing your packaging to achieve more sustainable options also leads to a series of benefits for your company:
- Lower costs. On one hand, increased safety implies minimizing costs associated with shrinkage during transportation. In addition, performing tests will mean finding the right size and weight for your packaging, reducing transportation and material use costs.
- Improved brand image, by constructing a narrative around sustainability.
- Reduction in the time required to develop adequate packaging solutions.
- Higher product safety, since the packaging is tested to ensure that it is capable of protecting the goods that it contains in various situations.
Why you should optimize the use of plastic in your tertiary packaging
A key point when discussing plastic packaging is the use of stretch film packaging and companies’ ability to optimize it.
While invisible to consumers, tertiary packaging is the first line of protection for goods during the distribution cycle.
In many cases, the material used to fasten and secure a load to a pallet is stretch film, a plastic film that is used to bale goods and is made out of linear low-density polyethylene, which allows it to have high mechanical resistance and low thickness.
Therefore, using the right stretch film, as well as the right amount of film, and applying it correctly, will determine whether the palletization and transport of a load is safe.
For this reason, many companies perform packaging tests to optimize the stretch film that they use. Not only that, the most important testing standard organizations include a few tests to evaluate the ability of stretch film to protect a load and keep it stable.
On one hand, we find packaging tests to characterize the critical properties of the film. And on the other, testing protocols that are performed on an entire load unit to certify that the stretch film has been correctly applied to guarantee load stability.
As an example, we could mention the success story of Duoplast, an international stretch film manufacturer that established a Simulation Center to offer stretch film testing services to its own clients through the use of transport simulation solutions. Thanks to the addition of this service, the German company has achieved a 30% reduction in packaging expenses and a 20% reduction in costs related to product damage, increasing their customers’ trust in their stretch film solutions.
Are you looking to optimize the use of plastic in your packaging or to design a way of testing your packaging? At Safe Load TT we have a track-record of two decades in the field of packaging transport simulation and packaging optimization. Contact us and let’s talk about how we can help you.