Solid Waste and
                                      Emergency Response
May 1995
                                       Printed with Vegetable Oil

WasteWi$e Update
Program of
         I o build on the initial success of WasteWi$e, EPA
recently kicked off an expansion of the program to send the
waste reduction message to even more businesses. Through the
WasteWi$e Endorser Program, initiated in December 1994,
EPA will partner with trade associations and other organiza-
tions to champion WasteWi$e and waste reduction to their
member businesses. Because these organizations provide an
excellent communication link with their members, EPA also
will be able to better understand businesses' waste reduction
needs. Twenty-five trade and professional associations have
signed on as WasteWi$e Charter Endorsers.
  Endorsers commit to conducting activities of their choice in
two areas. First, they provide information to their members
about WasteWi$e. Second, after the initial membership drive,
they continue to promote WasteWi$e to their members, or to
provide them with technical information on waste reduction.
For example, Endorsers could co-sponsor WasteWi$e work-
shops, publish waste reduction tips and cost-savings examples in
their newsletters or trade journals, develop an awards program,
or present WasteWi$e information at conferences. EPA will
help Endorsers implement these activities and will provide
recognition for their efforts.
  By taking a few simple actions, Endorser organizations have
already encouraged many companies to join WasteWi$e. Their
actions show the type of activities other Endorsers can conduct
under the program. Examples include:
  EdJSOn Electric Institute invited EPA to speak about
WasteWi$e at its Environment and Energy Committee
Meeting. EEI represents 180 electric  utilities. More than 20
utility companies have already joined WasteWi$e. EEI  will also
send a package of WasteWi$e information to its members,
encouraging more of them to join the program.
  American Textile Manufacturers Institute is
recommending that companies join WasteWi$e to fulfill a
requirement in its "Encouraging Environmental Excellence
Program" to participate in voluntary  programs.
  Direct Marketing Association, Inc (DMA),
launched a Corporate Environmental Stewardship Challenge
last year, which supports EPAs WasteWi$e program. Over 35
DMA member companies have already joined WasteWi$e, and
DMA will continue to promote WasteWi$e to its members.
  EPA welcomes the WasteWi$e Charter Endorsers listed
below. We thank them for their support and look forward to
working together to spread the message of cost-effective waste
reduction to many more businesses. For more information
about the WasteWi$e Endorser Program, call 1-800-EPA-WISE.
WasteWi$e Charter Endorsers
• American Iron and Steel Institute
• American Plastics Council
• American Textile Manufacturers Institute
• Association of Ohio Recyclers
• The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer's
• Direct  Marketing Association, Inc.
• Edison Electric  Institute
• Electronic Industries Association
• Food Marketing Institute
• Foodservice and Packaging Institute
• The Glass Packaging Institute
• Grocery Manufacturers of America
• Institute of Packaging Professionals
• National Association for Environmental Management
• National Association of Photographic Manufacturers, Inc.
• National Automobile Dealers Association
• National Retail Federation
• National Soft Drink Association
• National Wooden Pallet and Container Association
• Newspaper Association of America
• Polystyrene Packaging Council
• Steel Manufacturers Association
• Steel Recycling Institute
• The Vinyl Institute
• Virginia Recycling Association

  WasteWiSe Peer  Exchange
  EPA has set up a WasteWi$e Peer Exchange to
  help WasteWi$e companies contact each other
  directly to share information on their waste reduc-
  tion efforts. Companies are invited both to provide
  and to receive information via the Exchange. If
  you are a WasteWi$e partner with successful
  waste  reduction experience and would  like to
  offer information to other businesses, call the
  Hotline at  1-800-EPA-WISE. Companies looking
  for information also can call the Hotline.  You can
  ask to be hooked up with a business that has
  made  the switch to reusable packaging, is buying
  products with  recycled content, or is accomplishing
  many  other kinds of waste reduction.

                                                          WasteWi$e Update
A   Fresh   Look
at  Packaging
      Single-use transportation packaging and product packaging—
      which includes everything from wood pallets to plastic wrapping—
      contributes significantly to the amount of waste companies gener-
      ate. Manufacturing, assembling, shipping, and disposing of this
      packaging can increase the cost of doing business. Of course,
packaging serves many vital functions, including containing, protecting,
preserving, and advertising products. Sometimes, however, long-held
production and marketing practices specify the use of more packaging
than is actually needed to serve these functions.

Recognizing this, many companies—even those with thriving recycling
programs—are taking a second look at the transportation and product
packaging they send and receive. More firms are setting up in-house
teams and working with their suppliers to eliminate excess packaging
and switch to reusable packaging. And they're finding that waste
reduction can be achieved without sacrificing product safety or quality.
In fact, the production improvements associated with switching to
reusable packaging and eliminating excess packaging can not only slash
waste disposal and purchasing costs, but can often help streamline com-
panies' work practices. In addition, reusable shipping  containers often cost
less to use over the long term  and do a better job of safeguarding their

In this issue, we take an in-depth look at the packaging
reduction efforts of two WasteWi$e charter partners:
Target Stores and State Farm Mutual Automobile
Insurance Company. We examine how their pro-
grams came about, some of the issues they
faced, and payoffs they realized from their
successful efforts. We also review the major
reductions that consumer product manufac-
turers can achieve when they trim product
packaging, and summarize a  recent report
about the factors that have made reusable
transport packaging a big success for some

WasteWi$e Update
Target   Mfeste   Reduction
Program  Hits  the   Mark
In just one year's time. Target Stores has eliminated
approximately 1.5 million pounds of waste and
saved an estimated $4.5 million by initiating a
packaging reduction program for its "softlines"
merchandise (which includes such items as clothing
and shoes). Target Stores is a national chain of over
600 retail stores headquartered in Minneapolis,
  By developing a team and carefully evaluating its
packaging needs. Target realized that much of the
packaging used by its vendors was unnecessary and
costly to use and dispose of. When the Target Team
approached vendors about reducing excess packag-
ing, it was surprised to learn that vendor packaging
choices were based upon what vendors thought
Target wanted. This began a very constructive dia-
logue and  process in which Target and its vendors
worked together to design specifications to elimi-
nate excess packaging. Driven by its success so far.
Target has set a goal to become "trashless" in its
softlines merchandise by 1996.
Starting From the Top
       Suspecting that much of the merchandise shipped to
       Target included excess packaging, top management
       chartered a team of about 20 employees to study
       packaging of the softlines merchandise. The team
       came from several different areas, including the
Environmental, Quality Assurance, Distribution, Operations,
and Special Projects departments.
  Team members spent many hours in the stockrooms of
several stores in the Minneapolis metropolitan area going
through shipments to examine how the merchandise was
packaged. They observed both the amount of waste from
packaging and the time workers spent opening and unwrap-
ping shipments.
  The team found that a great deal of labor was expended
tearing apart packaging for the softlines merchandise. For
example, one typical clothing shipment contained 20 indi-
vidually wrapped sweaters. The sweaters had to be unwrapped
before they could be displayed in the store. The team ultimately
determined that an entire shipment of 20 sweaters could be
safely shipped in just one outside wrapper.
  The total  reduction in packaging for the Target softlines
merchandise resulted in $4.5 million savings in labor costs
associated with unwrapping the merchandise, and has pre-
vented 1.5 million pounds of excess packaging from being
landfilled—all in just one year. Another benefit was an
estimated $3 million savings to the vendor for the reduced
packaging material used in shipments.

Changing Specs, Changing Ways
       Old paradigms die hard," according to Mary Ellen
       Cassman, Director of Quality Assurance and Guest
       Relations at Target. Two vendors and two buyers
       doubted that the packaging changes would be effec-
       tive. They thought that the clothing would arrive
wrinkled because of the reduced packaging and make the
merchandise unpresentable.
  To see whether the merchandise would arrive at the store
in good condition, the Target Team asked its vendors to test
its packaging reduction idea. After several shipments of
clothing arrived unwrinkled and presentable, the team decid-
ed to change Target's packaging specifications to the vendor.
  "We proved the skeptics wrong by doing several test runs.
There has been no loss of sales due to presentation," explains
Cassman. The team had to convince management that these
test runs were important, as management wanted to imple-
ment the team's suggestions more quickly. "We wanted to
make sure the job was done right!"
  The resulting specifications, drawn up by Target and its
vendors, exclude not only individually wrapped  items but
also tissue paper, cardboard inserts, pins, collar inserts, tape,
and clips (see box).
  To ensure that  vendors follow these specifications, Target
asked them to sign a letter of agreement. Under the agree-
ment, Target can fine the vendors if merchandise does not
arrive according to the specifications. "If sweaters arrive
individually  wrapped, we will charge the vendor for the
additional labor it takes us to open the excess packaging,"
explains Jim Bosch, Manager of Target's Environmental

                                                                                                         WasteWi$e Update
            Knit  and Woven  Tops, Sweaters,  Jackets, Vests,  Outerwear
            Packing Specifications  -  Hanging  Presentation
            Target's objective is to ship floor-ready apparel and minimize packing. This will reduce costs and handling both for vendors and Target.
            This will also provide significant environmental benefits.
            This spec is intended for use on ALL FABRIC TYPES of hanging knit and woven shirts, including t-shirts, fleece, turtlenecks, cowlnecks,
            henleys, sweaters, baseball shirts, camp shirts, long and short sleeve styles, outerwear, jackets, and vests.
                     Lay garment front side facing up.
                     Insert Target-approved hanger when
                     specifically requested.
Fold sleeves across front of gar-
ment. Note: Hangtag should be
visible. Attach at left side of
sleeve opening.
Fold hem up to shoulders.
Note: Vests should lay flat or
fold in half.
                      Pack inner casepack quantity in one
                      polybag or use plastic lined card-
                      board boxes.
         No tape
                                                                                         No tissue
                                 No clips
         No pins
No individual polybags
       A sample of Target's new packing specifications that were distributed to all vendors.
Becoming Trashless
           Target's current goal is "to ship floor-ready apparel
           and minimize excess packaging." "Floor-ready"
           means that the merchandise requires minimal prepa-
           ration before being displayed on the sales floor.
           Target chose this goal because it would reduce labor
and disposal costs for both Target and the manufacturer while
providing significant environmental benefits. Target's goal to
become "trashless" by  1996 includes eliminating all unnecessary
packaging as well as reusing the necessary packaging.
   Target's  advice for other companies that are considering initi-
ating this type of program is to begin studying packaging needs
immediately. Companies should ask themselves two questions:
1) Is each packaging component necessary for shipping? and 2)
Does each component help significantly in the presentation or
         protection of the product? If the answer to these questions is
         no, then eliminate or reduce the packaging. Another hint on
         how companies can reduce their packaging is to work collabora-
         tively with vendors—communicate precisely what kinds of
         packaging your company needs and does not need. You might
         find that vendors think you require all the packaging they  are
         delivering, even though this might not be the case. Target found
         that having vendors as partners was a key to its success.

                 Target contributors to this article were:
                 Mahrokh Baniani, Senior Industrial Engineer
                 Jim Bosch, Manager, Environmental Department
                 Mary Ellen Cassman, Director, Quality Assurance
                   and Guest Relations
                 Mark D. Swanson, Special Projects Department

WasteWi$e Update
Reduction  at
State   Farm
The State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance
Company has learned that seemingly small changes
in the way it does business can yield large rewards.
The company has embarked on an ambitious pack-
aging reduction program that is cutting waste, saving
money, and improving efficiency for State Farm's
headquarters, regional offices, and independent
agents. One reason for the program's success is that
it embodies a team approach, involving all depart-
ments in waste reduction efforts.

Packaging  Reductions
       State Farm's headquarters in Bloomington, Illinois, pro-
       vides a variety of support services for its 28 regional
       offices. These services include purchasing and shipping
       supplies to the regional offices, as well as producing
       and distributing printed materials such as applications,
billing notices, training materials, and operating forms. The
regional offices then distribute these supplies and materials to
independent agents and claims offices within each region.
  State Farm has a wide-ranging packaging reduction program
(see box). In one effort, the Purchasing Department worked
with a supplier to change the way printer and copier paper was
packaged and shipped to State Farm. In the past, paper was
shipped in individually wrapped reams of 500 sheets. Now,  the
paper is transported in corrugated containers holding 2,500
sheets (the maximum capacity of the company's high-speed,
high-volume printers and copiers).
  This simple packaging change eliminates 240,000 ream
wraps and prevents the generation of six tons of waste annu-
ally. The switch also increases production efficiency, because
less time is needed to reload and service copiers and printers.
Although State  Farm has not calculated its precise cost
savings, the company has recognized a 30 percent increase in
  While waste  reduction and improved efficiency were
expected payoffs, State Farm found an additional benefit in
this packaging switch. The new containers in which the paper
was shipped turned out to be a convenient size for sending
items to the regional offices.
  State Farm's paper supplier also has benefitted from the
change. The supplier has been able to cut raw material and
transportation costs. Consequently, it has implemented sim-
ilar packaging reductions with some of its other customers.
  Another way that State Farm has reduced packaging is by
eliminating shrinkwrap when mailing the company's sales
handbooks to agents. State Farm used to ship  each hand-
book in both shrinkwrap and a corrugated book wrap. Now
State Farm just uses the book wrap. This action eliminated
close to 100,000 shrinkwraps, saving $18,000 annually.
This simple change, which increases efficiency by saving
time unwrapping handbooks, only took a few days to
  State Farm's packaging reduction  program encourages
all employees to think creatively and take the initiative on
packaging reductions, according to Jean Schmidt, a senior
purchasing specialist and a member  of State  Farm's Waste
Management Committee. "Let's take  the scenario of a buyer
requesting packages of 25 forms," says Schmidt. "An
employee might suggest shipping in lots of 100 forms per
shrinkwrapped package instead of 25.  That way, we
save shrinkwrap, eliminate the chipboard used to sup-
port the smaller shipments, and reduce the labor necessary

 State Farm has implemented a number of activities aimed at reducing
 packaging, including:
 4- Working with suppliers to receive more durable and reusable pallets.
 4- Reusing polystyrene packing material received by employees.
 4- Reusing corrugated containers received in the mail.
 4 Participating in a local business materials exchange.
 4 Using reusable plastic totes to transport materials to regional offices.
 4 Reusing paper roll ends from printing as packaging fill.
 4 Using recyclable paper wraps.
 4 Shipping and receiving electronics equipment in durable, reusable
   packing boxes and reusing foam packing materials.

                                                                                                  WasteWi$e Update
 to prepare the package." Once such an
 effective change in purchasing practices
 has been identified, the Purchasing
 Department communicates the changes
 in ordering procedures to the authoriz-
 ing department, independent State Farm
 offices, and all employees.
Goals of State Farm's Waste
Management Committee
                 The Challenge of Employee
 The Waste Management
 Committee: A Catalyst
 for Change
          State Farm attributes much of its
          success in waste reduction to its
          team approach. The company
          has established a Waste
          Management Committee that recommends, estab-
 lishes, communicates, and implements waste reduction pro-
 grams throughout the organization. The Committee,
 formed in 1989, comprises members  from seven key
 departments:  1) Purchasing, 2) Data Processing,
 3) Corporate Law, 4) Audio/Visual, 5) Corporate
 Administrative Services, 6) Regional Office Administrative
 Services, and 7) Safety & Environmental Health Unit.
    Committee members are responsible for communicating
 waste reduction ideas and programs to and from their
 respective departments. The  15 Committee members meet
 every other month at the Bloomington  headquarters.  The
 minutes from the meetings are then sent via e-mail to each
 of the regional offices.
    The Waste Management Committee works closely with
 different departments to investigate and implement possible
 waste reduction measures.  For example, to achieve the
 packaging reduction described  previously for copier and
 printer paper, the Committee worked closely with State
 Farm's Purchasing Department to examine possible alterna-
 tives to the five-ream shipments. Once the larger shipments
 were successfully tested, the Committee and the depart-
 ment worked together to sell the switch to management
 and employees.
State Farm attributes the success of its packaging
reduction efforts to:
4- Obtaining upper management support and showing them the cost savings.
4 Applying a comprehensive approach to waste management and establishing
  a Waste Management Committee representing all departments involved.
4 Providing ongoing employee education to improve environmental awareness.
4- Working closely with the end users of a product to assess their needs.
4 Building long-term relationships between suppliers and the central
  purchasing department.
  Work with the purchasing
  department to investigate
  opportunities to buy recycled.
  Act as a source for
  Develop educational
  Provide communication
  through existing company
  Explore new recycling and
  waste prevention approaches.
                            ccording to members of the
                            Waste Management
                            Committee, the biggest chal-
                            lenge State Farm faced when
                            initiating its packaging reduc-
                 tion efforts was educating employees. The
                 initial emphasis of the Committee's educa-
                 tional program was on teaching employees
                 about recycling. With a  strong employee
                 awareness of recycling in place, the
                 Committee now focuses on the benefits of
                 waste prevention, including cutting trans-
                 portation packaging and paper use.
                   The Committee also keeps employees
updated on State Farm's environmental achievements
through a variety of avenues, including articles  in newsletters,
presentations at employee training sessions, poster displays,
and slide presentations. Providing employees with feedback
on waste reduction progress helps to recognize employees'
contributions, ensure their continued participation, and pro-
vide motivation for future activities. "The education process
reaches everyone involved in waste reduction, from adminis-
trative personnel to purchasing specialists  and upper man-
agers," explains Schmidt. Additionally, purchasing and waste
management specialists  periodically attend seminars spon-
sored by trade associations to learn about alternative waste
prevention practices.

Advice for Others
        Itate Farm's successes illustrate how other companies
        can develop a team strategy to tap the  benefits asso-
        ciated with packaging reduction efforts. According
        to Dean Shoemaker, Safety Technician from the
        Safety & Environmental Health Unit,  implementing
the overall waste management approach at State Farm was a
"learn-as-you-go"  process. Companies should be flexible as
they begin implementing ideas, and should tailor them to
their specific circumstances. Shoemaker's best advice for
other companies interested in reducing packaging waste is to
"dive  in and get your feet wet."
                   State Farm contributors to this article were:
                   David Burke, Public Affairs Department
                   Dan Norris, Specialist, Safety & Environmental Health Unit
                   Jean Schmidt, Senior Purchasing Specialist II,
                     Purchasing Unit
                   Dean Shoemaker, Safety Technician, Safety & Environmental
                     Health Unit

WasteWi$e Update
  A  Sanpling  of


  Packaging Goals
                 ^3     ^3

  Many WasteWi$e partners have ranked
  packaging reduction high on their lists of
  waste reduction goals. Some of the
  strategies that WasteWi$e partners are
  using to achieve their waste reduction goals
  are presented below. You could use these
  examples to begin targeting packaging
  reductions in your company.

  Primary  Packaging

  Waste Prevention Goals
  + Reduce the weight of plastic bottles by 10 percent for
   one product line.
  + Redesign product packaging to decrease the amount
   of materials used.
  + Purchase cafeteria food items in bulk containers.

  Recycling Goals
  + Recycle polypropylene shirt bags.
  + Collect and bale high-density polyethylene (HDPE)
   to be used in packaging.
  + Collect aluminum packaging from manufacturing.

  Buy/Manufacture Recycled Goals
  + Increase postconsumer content of packaging while
   meeting Food and Drug Administration guidelines.
  + Initiate  "closed loop" recycling of 35 mm film canis-
   ters with up to 12.5 percent postconsumer content.
  + Expand use of 25 percent postconsumer content
   HDPE bottles from one product line to additional lines.
  Produce 16-ounce polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
  bottles with 35 percent postconsumer content.
  Purchase polypropylene shirt bags with recycled
Transport Packaging
Waste Prevention Goals
  Distribute one product line in reusable containers,
  which will reduce disposal weight by 95 percent.
  Use incoming packaging materials for outgoing product
  Establish preferred packaging guidelines for suppliers.
  Use air-filled bags in shipping cartons instead of foam
  Reduce the thickness of corrugated used in packaging
  Require that routine customers develop a pallet return
  program to reuse pallets.
  Chip wooden pallets for animal bedding.
Recycling Goals
+ Have packaging vendors use only one type of strapping
  material so that it can be more easily recycled.
+ Accept packaging materials from customers to be recycled.
+ Recycle customers' low-density polyethylene (LDPE)
  stretch film.
+ Send unusable wooden pallets to a compost facility.

Buy/Manufacture Recycled Goals
+ Increase recycled  content in corrugated containers.
+ Set goal of 50 percent recycled content in all packaging.
+ Evaluate the purchase of recycled-content wood pallets.
+ Send plastic shrinkwrap to the manufacturer and buy
  back plastic containers made from that shrinkwrap
  ("closed-loop" purchasing) .

                                                                                    WasteWi$e Update
Reducing  Packaging  at  Every  Step
Every part of the manufacturing process, from
raw materials delivery to the transportation of
products to customers, offers the potential for
substantial packaging reductions. WasteWi$e
partners Pepsi-Cola Bottling of Phoenix, General
Mills, Warner-Lambert, and Procter & Gamble
are among the many companies that are taking
advantage of these potential reductions. While
these firms embarked on their programs for dif-
ferent reasons and focused on different parts of
their production processes, all found that cost-
effective reductions in packaging could be inte-
grated quite  successfully into product
manufacturing and delivery systems.

Reusable Pallets
        Like every manufacturer, Pepsi-
        Cola Bottling of Phoenix expe-
        riences occasional production
        delays. In Pepsi-Phoenix's case, the
        culprit was often slightly damaged or misshapen
wood pallets holding incoming shipments of empty cans.
These pallets sometimes splintered during automated unload-
ing, interrupting production and causing substantial raw
material losses. The solution: reusable plastic pallets. Pepsi
Phoenix worked with its supplier to identify and test the per-
formance of possible replacements, settling on a design that
worked for both parties. As a result, "Raw material losses
resulting from pallet damage have fallen dramatically, labor to
repair pallets for reuse has been reduced, and we have cut our
generation of wood waste by over 50 percent," says Rick
Kuelbs, Plant Manager at Pepsi Phoenix. "We are saving near-
ly $3,000 per year on pallet cleaning and other secondary
costs, and our downtime as a result of pallet problems has
been reduced from about 10 hours per month to about half
an hour per month."
Cereal Successes
        ereal giant General Mills used to
        ship its cereal boxes to retail cus-
        tomers in large corrugated cartons
        designed to hold 14 to  16 individual cereal
        boxes—until the company began focusing on ways
to provide more efficient packaging. The company redesigned
the packaging to reduce the amount of corrugated, using
plastic straps to hold the cereal boxes tightly between just two
pieces of corrugated. The new design reduces the amount of
corrugated by 30 percent, and grocers  like it better because
stock clerks find it easier to open containers without damag-
ing the product. General Mills anticipates that these changes
will reduce its generation of corrugated by around 3 million
pounds per year.

Shrinking the Wrapping
            Warner-Lambert, a manufac-
            turer of health care and
            consumer products, has
            focused on minimizing the
            amount of packaging used for its products.
Recently, the company removed the outer paperboard cartons
on a line of cold formula remedies, leaving only the
shrinkwrapped bottle. This step alone  is eliminating the gen-
eration of 340 tons of paperboard each year. Warner-Lambert
also has reduced the weight and amount of packaging for a
mouthwash product line, switching from a glass bottle with
corrugated and paper overwrap to just a plastic bottle.  This
one change is eliminating over 19 million pounds of packaging
per year, a 52 percent reduction.

Designing  for Waste

         For companies that ship millions
         of products every year, even small
         design changes can result in signifi-
         cant waste reductions. Just ask consumer products
         manufacturer Procter & Gamble (P&G). P&G
wanted to redesign  the plastic bottles used for its 32- and 48-
ounce vegetable oil containers to cut down on the amount of
plastic used. The company also wanted to find a way to
reduce the product's storage space and shipping weight. It
turned out that both goals could be met simply by replacing
the traditional cylindrical shape of the oil bottle with a rec-
tangular design. Changing the bottle's  geometry allows a
thinner layer of plastic to be used to deliver the same amount
of oil. The resulting bottle uses 30 percent less plastic than
before, eliminating  about 2.5 million pounds of plastic per
year. In addition, by reducing storage space, the bottle's new
design requires smaller shipping containers for transporta-
tion.  This has helped P&G cut its use of corrugated by
about 1.3 million pounds annually.

WasteWi$e Update
Cutting  Packaging
             ingle-use transportation packaging—mostly
corrugated and paperboard containers—helps contain and
protect products during shipping and handling.  Such pack-
aging also can generate large amounts of excess material.
  A tremendous opportunity exists for companies to reduce
packaging waste,  according to Delivering the Goods: Benefits
of Reusable Shipping Containers. This new report, developed
by INFORM (a nonprofit environmental education and
research organization), shows how businesses can cut back
on waste—and save money—by converting to reusable ship-
ping containers.  In fact, many businesses have already taken
this strategy to heart.
  One of the biggest incentives for switching to reusables is
cost savings.  In its report, INFORM profiles several compa-
nies that have significantly cut costs by adopting reusable
containers. Toyota USA, for example, reduced its freight
costs by more than $3 million annually by replacing single-
use shipping containers with reusables.
  INFORM's study shows that while a reusable shipping
container has a higher initial price, it ends up costing signif-
icantly less per trip over a lifetime of trips.
  Per-container savings are just part of the story.  Businesses
are finding that containers designed to endure multiple
haulings are more protective of their contents. This means
fewer damaged goods per shipment. In addition, well-
designed containers can be easier to handle and store, free-
ing up workers and saving labor costs. Switching to
reusables also reduces waste management costs.
  But if reusable packaging is so lucrative, why haven't
more businesses already made the switch? The answer lies in
the challenges that must be overcome before these cost sav-
ings can be realized.  First, companies must invest in a large
number of reusable containers  (which can cost from 2 to 20
times the price of single-use containers). A sufficient num-
ber of containers must be on hand  to pack new deliveries
while empty  containers make their way back.  Arrangements
need to be made to return the emptied containers after ship-
ment, possibly for a fee (though fees often can be negotiated
with the supplier). In addition, companies will have to track
their different containers to ensure they cycle their way back
to the factory or warehouse. Once back in the warehouse,
space must be made to store the containers until use.
     Nevertheless, reusable-container programs can be cost-
   effective in many situations, and successful programs have
   been developed that reap the rewards of reuse.  In particular,
   INFORM found four key factors that make reusable con-
   tainers most cost-effective:

   • Short distribution distances.  By keeping hauling dis-
     tances short, companies can minimize return-freight costs.
   • Frequent deliveries.  Smaller,  more frequent product
     deliveries allow a company to move empty containers
     back to the factory rapidly.  Frequent deliveries also mini-
     mize the number of containers a company must purchase.
     Simplify the Shipping process. Some companies ship
     ments go through several layers of distributors before
     their products reach their final destinations.  Companies
     that are able to simplify the shipping process—shipping
     directly to the buyer when possible—will be able to keep
     tracking costs  down.
   • Company-Owned vehicles. When companies use their
     own trucks to move empty containers back to the factory,
     they avoid any return shipping fees levied by haulers.

     Businesses have come up with other smart ideas to make
   sure that reusable containers save them money. Instead of
   buying containers, especially in cases where anticipated prod-
   uct alterations might require changes in container sizing,
   companies can lease them. The leasing  firm typically takes on
   the task of tracking, handling, and hauling back empties, too.
     Container standardization also can simplify working with
   reusables. If manufacturers and suppliers agree on a few con-
   tainer sizes, fewer types of containers need to be  sorted and
   tracked.  Companies can even swap containers at different
   points, eliminating the need to ship empty ones  back.
      ampie cosi comparison or one-way ana reusaoie
     two-cubic-foot shipping containers by material
                  Corrugated   Corrugated     Plastic
                   One-Way     Reusable     Reusable
     Initial cost
     Estimated life
     (number of trips)

     Cost per trip
     Source: "How to Select Shipping Containers," Buckhorn, Inc.,
     Milford, Ohio, 1991.

                                  WasteWi$e Update
   Case Study:

   Xerox  Corporation

   Xerox Corporation, a WasteWi$e charter
   partner, has switched from a system that
   used thousands of different sizes of one-
   way shipping containers to a system that
   relies on nine standard reusable corrugat-
   ed package sizes. The key features of
   Xerox's distribution system are:
   • Standardized containers and long-distance supply.
      Xerox requires parts suppliers to use standardized
      containers worldwide.
      "Open-loop"  network.  Xerox operates an "open-
      loop" distribution network in which containers
      need not return to their points of origin,  but can
      be used by other suppliers.
      Third-party collection.  A third-party handler col-
      lects, sorts, and resells empty containers, eliminat-
      ing the need to  haul back containers.
   • Savings.  Reusable shipping containers have
      enabled the company to save on packaging,
      freight, disposal, labor,  and storage costs.  They
      also have reduced  product damage.

      Source: INFORM.

  Another strategy is to  design containers with handling
and storing efficiency in  mind, such as containers that fold
out flat after use, allowing empties to take up a minimal
amount of space. Nestability is another feature that saves
space, allowing containers to be fitted inside each other
after use.  In addition, moving containers is easier,  both  full
and empty, if the tops and bottoms are designed to lock
into each other. This stacking efficiency makes it possible
to maximize space in  warehouses and delivery trucks.
  Of course, switching to a new process requires careful
planning and consideration.  Companies will need to evalu-
ate current operations and options for change. Where
there  are opportunities to increase efficiency and save
money, companies will find innovative ways to work
reusable containers into their operations.
  To obtain a copy of the INFORM report by David
Sapphire, Delivering the Goods: Benefits of Reusable
Shipping, write to INFORM, Inc., 120 Wall Street,  16th
Floor, New York, NY 10005.  You can also call 212 361-
2400  or FAX 212 361-2412  to order a copy. The price is
$23,  which includes postage and handling.


   Reusable Transport Packaging Directory. This
directory, published in 1994 by the Minnesota Office of
Waste Management, can help companies locate manufac-
turers of reusable bags, boxes, bins, totes, pails, drums,
containers for liquids, pallets, slip sheets, racks, cushions,
and other shipping products. In addition, the directory
identifies support services for reuse and pallet recondition-
ing. Call 1-800-EPA-WISE to receive a copy.

   The National Wood Pallet and Container Association.
Wood pallets often can be repaired and refurbished for reuse
instead of being thrown away. The National Wood Pallet
and Container Association has compiled a comprehensive
listing of pallet and container suppliers that are interested in
receiving pallets for reuse as part of a materials exchange
program. The Association can also help companies preserve
their own pallets by rebuilding them on a company's
premises so the firm can reuse them. For more information,
contact the Association at 703 527-7667.

   The International Association of Pallet Recyclers.
Pallets also can be remanufactured or recycled. Call the
International Association of Pallet Recyclers at 703 908-
4880 for locations  of pallet  refurbishers in your state.

   The American Plastics Council. Recycling stretch
wrap and other plastic packaging materials can help
companies avoid disposing  of this material. The
American Plastics Council provides information on
recycling many different types of plastic and can help
you locate markets in your  area. If you generate a lot of
stretch wrap, you might want to call the Council at
1-800-2-HELP-90 to request the publication Stretch
Wrap Recycling.

 I The Plastic Loosefill Council. Many vendors ship
their products using polystyrene peanuts for protection.
You  can reuse peanuts you  receive or return them to
your vendors for reuse. You might also be able to
donate them to a local packaging or shipping company.
If you cannot reuse the  peanuts and are interested in
recycling, call the Plastic Loosefill Council. The
Council maintains  a listing of companies that  accept
polystyrene peanuts for recycling. To find  out  if peanuts
are recyclable in your area,  call the Council at

WasteWi$e Update
   McDonald's Gives Packaging a Break Today
   McDonald's Corporation^ a charter WasteWi$e
   partner, has saved approximately $5 million in 1994 by
   reducing packaging in the following ways:
   • Reducing the raised designs on napkins, which allowed
     23 percent more napkins to fit into a shipping container,
     and eliminated 294,000 pounds of corrugated packing
     boxes and 150 truckload shipments.
   • Redesigning the company's shake and sundae shipment
     boxes, achieving a 4 percent reduction in corrugated
     (450,000 pounds).
   • Decreasing the thickness of trash can liners, reducing
     plastic waste by 2.1 million pounds.
   • Converting hash brown containers from paperboard car-
     tons to paper bags, saving 2.9 million pounds of packaging.
   • Redesigning french fry cartons to reduce the weight of
     paperboard packaging by 13  percent.
    Dan River Spins a Pallet Success Story
    Dan River Company, Inc, a textile manufactur-
    er and charter WasteWi$e partner, eliminated 175 tons
    of corrugated per year (6,700 pounds per week) by
    switching to reusable  packaging. This Danville, Virginia,
    manufacturer of sheets and comforters received weekly
    yarn shipments in corrugated containers.  In 1994, the
    company converted to reusable plastic pallets, enclosed
    by stretch wrap. Different parts of the pallets are used
    about 60 to 540 times before being recycled, and only
    about 5 tons per year (195 pounds per week) of stretch
    wrap is used, all of which is recycled.
    United States
    Environmental Protection Agency
    Washington, DC  20460

    Official Business
    Penalty for Private Use