Redesigning Packaging to Improve Sustainability and Efficiency

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Image: © nordroden  / Adobe Stock


Until now, packaging has performed three essential functions: protection, transportation, and communication. However, this is rapidly evolving as the packaging industry looks to embrace circular economy and become more sustainable. A recent DHL report highlights the urgent need for the packaging industry to consider and start implementing reusable packaging or eco-friendlier packaging materials. Emerging legislation on producer responsibility, as well as the sheer magnitudes of wasted packaging and the resulting carbon emissions, make this an issue that demands immediate attention.

HSSMI believes that packaging can be leveraged as a valuable resource for businesses. Our Packaging Optimisation service can help identify potential improvements in containerisation, sustainability, and cost, while ensuring the packaging still meets durability and communication requirements. This could mean assessing different packaging types, e.g returnable vs disposable, and optimising processes to avoid waste generation and reduce CO2 emissions. HSSMI will also provide the proof of concept and lead the implementation of new processes to achieve sustainable change.

We recently worked with an automotive OEM to help them optimise packaging for two of their most valuable parts. Working together with them, we conducted a complete teardown of the original packaging and assessed the surrounding processes. It was due to cautious packaging regulations that there were superfluous materials and fasteners. So HSSMI redesigned the packaging to eliminate these unnecessary materials, down to the details – such as eliminating 120 screws per pack! We also considered the design complexity to reduce operator time and encourage high volume manufacture. Ultimately, it was our combined expertise in lean manufacturing and circular economy that guided the OEM to become more sustainable.

The alterations and optimisations resulted in combined savings of 68.8 tonnes of CO2 equivalent and £1.3 million over a 3-year period. The savings came mainly from using fewer materials, that reduced the size and weight, and therefore improved transport efficiency.

To find out more about how we can help optimise your packaging strategy, get in touch with our circular economy experts by writing to


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Written by:

Francisca Krabberød


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