Manufacturing Savvy

The Three R's Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Consumer products goods companies are stepping up to the plate. As major consumers of energy and chemicals they have banned together to follow the mantra of " reduce, reuse and recycle."

The Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI), a trade association representing packaging and packaging-related converting machinery manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada, has found that its members have already come up with some interesting ways to be 'lean and clean.'

For example:

*One three-shift soft drink bottling plant can easily generate 20 million gallons of line lubrication wastewater per year. However, there are technologies that enable substantial gains in sustainability by reducing water for lubrication from hundreds of gallons per shift down to mere ounces.

*A leading producer of biscuits, cookies and crackers implemented a technology that allowed for less adhesive in sealing packages for multiple lines of cookies and biscuits, reducing adhesive consumption by 70%. As a result, the company saved 35 barrels of oil, a significant amount of energy to run the line, and more than 260,000 gallons of water previously used for traditional package glue.

Building on the 5S model to reduce waste in their operations, PMMI members are now using a 6th S Sustainability. Some efforts include:


Building energy-efficient machinery
OEM's are finding ways to reduce energy usage to decrease the environmental impact of packaging operations. Sustainability drove many brand owner investments in packaging machinery with added flexibility to handle lighter gauge materials, greater precision and accuracy to reduce waste, and improved efficiency to reduce energy costs.

Providing training to reduce compressed air usage
It is estimated that more than 20% energy costs are directly related to running compressors. Training equipment operators to enhance the performance and reduce compressed air usage is an important way to achieve sustainability.

Designing highly reliable machinery
Simple machine designs allow for quick and accurate changeovers with next to zero waste of time. Customization allows companies to quickly use new packaging materials and concepts with its machines.

For more information see Sustainability: From the Boardroom to the Breakroom, a study PMMI developed in conjunction with Deloitte, GMA and Hartness International.

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