Packaging Return System

Here are a few examples of companies that have started to reuse some of their packaging and different ways that this has been achieved.

Mitsubishi Polyester Film

Our return program comprises all reusable packaging materials like end plates, racks,pallets and plastic cores. the company will welcome large quantities ( half lorry sizes, to avoid unnecessary small transport) to the head quarters and will pick up smaller amounts on specific days.

  • Easy and safe handling
  • Less waste
  • Less disposal costs
  • Reduced amount of packaging materials
  • Compliance with environmental laws
  • Better service
  • Superior protection of products

Packaging circle from Mitsubushi



This Defra commissioned study investigates the costs and benefits of implementing a deposit return system (DRS) on packaging containers in the UK. The aim was to determine whether introducing a DRS would offer any benefits over the existing policy mix, i.e.:

– Would it encourage “reuse” in the form of refillable containers? Would it complement Packaging Regulations in meeting packaging recycling targets?

– What additional benefits would it deliver over and above existing policy?

The approach has been to undertake a benchmarking exercise by examining existing DRS in three European countries (Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands) and in New York State before applying the findings to the specific market conditions and policy framework in the UK.

Although the majority of these systems have been designed for beverage and similar products, they have also been applied to hazardous products. Using incomplete data from the OECD and EEA data base on economic instruments, Annex 1 includes a section showing which countries have applied a DRS to products such as electric bulbs, batteries, used oils, pesticides and CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons).



The main purpose of a packaging is to protect the product. If the packaging is developed and used in a smart way it can also lead to a significant cost decrease compared to different one-way packaging and other developed packaging solutions. Thus a manufacturing company that use packaging in a smart way can gain a competitive advantage via the cost decrease.

One year ago Volvo Logistics Corporation, VLC, noticed that several customers had steadily growing demand for packaging development and met this by offering them a complete packaging logistics solution. The service is based on packaging development and consists mainly of two parts, Packaging design and Packaging engineering. Volvo Logistics started to offer this service within the department of Product development who offer the services on a consultancy basis to customers that have a need for improving their packaging solutions.

 “Returnable Packaging

The returnable packaging should by definition be able to be reused a certain number of times before it is discarded (Kroon and Vrijens, 1994). Returnable packaging may be of different types, such as plastic containers, pallets, or slipsheets we will use the term returnable packaging, irrespective of the actual type of packaging”


Benefits of reusable packaging


– lower packaging costs through reduced raw material and waste disposal costs

– reduced cost of buying Packaging Recovery Notes (PRNs) since packaging that is reused is exempt after its first use;

– reduced cost of returns and rejects; and reduced product damage during transit.

Consumer benefits:

– increased customer satisfaction;

– no bulky packaging waste for the customer to recycle or dispose of and improved product presentation to the customer.

Company and employee benefits:

– reduced risk of personal injury to packing and delivery teams

– improved customer service; improved company image and marketing opportunities (e.g. branding on packaging)

Environmental benefits:

– less packaging waste entering the domestic waste stream  and reduced product damage thereby reducing the carbon footprint.


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