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Why healthcare firms are testing reusable packaging

Shipping manager prepares a cold chain shipment

Although healthcare companies have not been among the pioneers of reusable packaging, many are now beginning to look more closely at using reusables more broadly in the cold chain. Advances in technology are providing more eco-friendly alternatives to shipping with single-use materials.

Shipping with reusables is not only better for the environment, it also reduces waste and recycling costs. New types of containers are well equipped to resist moisture and chemicals, provide high-quality insulation and handle everyday shipping environments - allowing for years of continuous use. Though expensive to invest in initially, they can become cost-efficient over time, once deployed.

A good return on investment

New advances in both product and process are encouraging healthcare companies to try reusables -- and some have been impressed with the outcome. As Susan Li, senior cold chain strategist at UPS, who manages the UPS Temperature True® Packaging program, notes, "We put together a reusable package for a customer who wanted to experiment with the concept." Options now range from sophisticated solutions with built-in or removable coolant, to simple, reusable totes or bins.

Shippers send end customers their products in reusable containers, and customers then return them to a centralized location for reconditioning and reuse. But the benefits of reusables quickly diminish if they are not returned for use again. As Li explains, "The success of sustainable packaging programs hinges on the ability of companies to recover their containers. That's where a third-party logistics provider such as UPS can help," she says. "The design of the return program is critical to the success of the project."

Why it pays to consult an expert

Logistics companies like UPS offer packaging experts who can design and deliver compliant, cost-effective packaging that can further a company's environmental commitments. "We help customers observe their sustainability goals," says Li. "Reusable packaging helps companies stay in compliance and ultimately become more cost-efficient and eco-friendly over time." So, if a reusable package program is on your agenda, it makes sense to turn to UPS.

Explore UPS Temperature True Packaging options - including reusable packaging.

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