DHL highlights four core packaging trends

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

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Bamboo is just one of the green packaging materials being explored
Bamboo is just one of the green packaging materials being explored
Green materials including mushrooms and bamboo are being explored as one of four core packaging trends, according to Paul Young, director and head of packaging services DHL Supply Chain.

Young told ​ Numerous innovative substances are already emerging as realistic and sustainable alternatives to traditional packaging.

“Some companies are using bamboo and even mushrooms, and research into the use of straw as a raw material, to create boxes and packaging, is being undertaken. Dissolvable and even edible packaging is being seen yet reusable packaging is something that we still need to see more of.

“It is key that reusable packaging remains a focus, particularly around the secondary packaging requirements where there are instant benefits in terms of cost and environmental savings.”

Second trend: waste

In tandem with eco-friendly packaging materials, a second trend was waste reduction, said Young.

“As there is an increasing awareness in packaging efficiency, we have developed expertise in eliminating the need for landfill waste, progressing industry trends regarding packaging efficiency,”​ he said.

“Technology is also emerging which allows bespoke boxes to automatically create cases for orders, which are not full-sized, thus saving on wastage. Social media users are further encouraging companies to become more efficient with their packaging, tweeting and posting examples of poorly packaged products, which will work to drive change in packaging trends.”

Third trend: space

A third trend was the development of packaging that made the most of space in vehicles, Young claimed. “At DHL, our innovative environmentally friendly transit packaging includes packaging-free transport solutions, to minimise both waste and costs.

“Packaging multiple products for the same customer in one box, for one delivery, further helps to make the most of space in vehicles whilst eliminating the waste generated from excess packaging.

“We have also developed new packaging crates that are designed to optimise usage of high cube 40ft sea containers; the IsoBin33. Additionally we have created a foot-operated pallet and unique ratchet strap mechanism that can be used with a range of nesting and folding totes, to load and lift up to 500kg of goods, ultimately freeing up capacity in the vehicle.”

Fourth trend: temperature-controlled packaging

Lastly, Young said innovation continued in the area of temperature-controlled packaging. “Numerous developments have been made to ensure that temperature sensitive products are kept at optimum temperature when packaged. Absorbent sleeves, coolant wraps and pressure bags have all been designed to maintain the correct temperature of the package.

“Further to innovations in the actual packaging, smart sensor technology can now be used to monitor and track the temperature of a shipment and advanced IT systems work to measure the package’s temperature continuously on the journey. For example; Pharmacool Cassettes are used at DHL to keep products at room temperature.”

Young is speaking at the Packaging Innovations ​and Luxury Packaging London ​shows, which are taking place from September 30 to October 1, 2014, and are co-located at the Business Design Centre London.

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