Retailers Cut Operating Costs with “Pre-cycling”

Green-minded consumers have long been exhorted to “reduce, re-use, recycle” to cut down on the amount of waste they send to landfills. Now, one company is taking the concept a step further, using a strategy dubbed “pre-cycling” to help e-commerce retailers operate more sustainably and burnish the corporate eco-image.

Running a green business used to mean simply choosing recyclable materials for packaging and shipping. However, retailers can gain a bigger return if they consider an item’s entire supply chain journey before they pick a packaging solution, according to Sealed Air Corp.

Packing a small item in a large box stuffed with air pillows is not only a business faux pas, but it can hurt a retailer’s image, the Charlotte, N.C.-based packaging company says. As evidence, Sealed Air points to its”Packaging for e-Commerce Success” survey that shows 77 percent of Americans feel that e-commerce packaging should reflect the retailer’s environmental values.

However, failing to provide enough padding can be even worse, since damaged items create a huge business cost and environmental impact when they must be returned, repaired, re-handled, repackaged, and reshipped. Pre-cycling is a strategy for steering a course between these two dangers… and saving the world while you’re at it.

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