Switzer Acts to Reduce Cardboard Waste
Did you know that the average person in America uses about seven trees worth of paper yearly? That means America uses roughly 2,000,000,000 trees every year! A major majority of the paper produced is for cardboard packaging, and the demand for packaging material has made cardboard the single largest waste product by weight.
Isn’t Cardboard Recyclable?
In 2018 alone, 17.2 million tons of cardboard ended up in landfills in the United States. Considering that cardboard is one of the most recyclable materials on the planet, it is hard to believe so much of it ends up in the wrong bin. The truth is, only about 55% of cardboard produced gets recycled. Although the high-quality material is 100% recyclable and can be recycled multiple times, only a little more than half actually gets recycled.
Since cardboard is biodegradable, it produces methane gas when it breaks down. The millions of tons of cardboard that ends up in landfills each year not only takes up space, it also contributes to climate change.
When new cardboard is created from trees from a paper mill, it contributes to air, water, and land pollution. When cardboard is recycled and reused, the pollution emissions are cut by 95%. Worldwide, the cardboard and paper industry is the fifth largest energy consumer. Around 80,000 tons of emissions are released into the air each year while producing cardboard. Also, more water is consumed producing one ton of cardboard than producing the same amount of any other material. So although cardboard is great because of its recyclability, the creation of new cardboard takes a toll on the environment.
Switzer’s Solution to Excessive Cardboard Waste
At Switzer, sustainability is important. We have taken action, such as installing a new wastewater system, to prove our dedication to the environment. For this reason, we have come up with a way to limit our use of cardboard by offering an alternative shipping method.
We now offer reusable hard plastic shipping totes that can be shipped back and forward for our partners who have repeat or frequent orders. We ship the tote full of our partner’s order, and then they ship it back to us to be reused again for their next shipment. This method could substantially lower our cardboard usage, especially when utilized by our partners who receive multiple orders per month.
Besides being environmentally friendly, the reusable plastic totes provide other benefits such as being fiber free. Sometimes when our partners receive metal components, static electricity will cause tiny fibers from the cardboard boxes to stick to their parts. Depending on the functionality of the part, the components may have to be cleaned before use which can be time consuming. The hard plastic shipping totes eliminate this issue because they are fiber free.
Worth The Cost
Although the decision to implement this shipping method may seem like an easy one for our partners to make, they must first consider the cost. Since they will have to send the tote back to us, there will be increased shipping costs. That is why this method is only in place for our partners who would agree to choose sustainability over cost. This method is not about saving money, it is about adopting sustainable methods for future generations in the business.
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