Packaging Benchmarking
Home Improvement Products

We were commissioned by WRAP to undertake a project to collect and analyse
packaging weights information on Home Improvement / DIY products, to identify best practice

WRAP’s Home Improvement Sector Commitment objectives were to optimise packaging, reduce waste to landfill and to help consumers recycle more.

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Challenge

WRAP’s Home Improvement Sector Commitment (HISC) objectives were to optimise packaging, reduce waste to landfill and help consumers recycle more in order to improve resource efficiency in home improvement products.

To help achieve the HISC targets, we were commissioned by WRAP to undertake a project to collect and analyse packaging weights information on Home Improvement / DIY products to identify best practice.

Eight key packaging groups were selected to be assessed, these included:

  1. Aggregates and cement
  2. Bathrooms
  3. Bathroom taps
  4. Lightbulbs
  5. Paints
  6. Radiators
  7. Screws, nails and fixings; and
  8. Sealants, adhesives and fillers

Solution

Through the use of our contacts with DIY and home improvement companies, a number of key home improvement retailers, suppliers and stakeholders were contacted and participated in the project, some of which were B&Q, Travis Perkins and Henkel.

Our packaging database was initially utilised to identify the top selling items within each category for B&Q, Travis Perkins and their key suppliers. Data collection exercises via weighing days at retailer and supplier warehouses, as well as supplier mailings and using packaging weights from our database were utilised. This was to gather data on packaging formats, weight and size, material types, recycled content and dimensions.

The data was then analysed to identify key packaging trends within each category. The following data was used to identify these:

  • Material usage
  • Recycled content
  • Use of sustainability packaging labelling
  • Space utilisation
  • Carbon footprint; and
  • Product damage levels

Results

This assessment enabled the identification of best practice within each of the eight product categories which was then used to assess the impacts of packaging optimisation. This was completed by firstly modelling the impacts of changing all packaging to the ‘best in class’ and secondly, by modelling set changes of 10% and 30% reductions in packaging usage.

The impacts of the optimisation were considered for both financial (raw material costs) and environmental (embedded carbon and packaging weight) perspectives and per 10,000, 100,000 and 1 million units.

Paint for example used sub-categories of 2.5l pots, 5l pots and 10l pots. The largest saving was seen in 5l pots. If over 1 million units were moved to the ‘best in class’ packaging, this could result in 83 tonnes of plastic and 207 tonnes of steel saved, 113-304 tonnes of carbon and £193,000 - £687,000 saved in material costs.

The results were presented to the HISC signatories and WRAP to aid them with the packaging design process.

 

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