Carbon conscious: single-use vs reusable containers

Stay up to date
reusable containers

Pressure is continuing to grow on every industry sector to reduce its carbon emissions and help the government achieve its target of net zero by 2050. This is no mean feat, as meeting customer expectations whilst delivering cost efficiencies and reducing carbon emissions introduces significant supply chain challenges.

These requirements do not easily align. When efficiencies of scale cannot be achieved, companies are required to think outside the box, employing innovative solutions to address these complex challenges and deliver sustainable solutions.

In cold chain logistics, however, complying with carbon reduction strategies aligns perfectly with existing resilience strategies.

Single-use containers

Single-use containers have many flaws. They are wasteful for a start, being only suited to one use before disposal. Consumers are increasingly keen to avoid single-use products, so businesses that rely on single-use containers may see their reputations impacted.

Single-use containers usually offer passive temperature control through insulation combined with ice packs, gels or other cooling technologies that are only suited to a single use. These cannot be refreshed should delays occur in transit, meaning that the failure of the container to maintain a suitable temperature can result in the spoilage of the contents.

Single-use containers, although offering a lower up-front purchase cost than reusable containers, often cost a company far more in the long term once the costs of disposal are factored in. Unless the container can be easily recycled in domestic or industrial waste, it will need to follow a specialist disposal route. This often incurs high costs, particularly if the cooling method used is harmful to health once breached.

Reusable containers

Reusable containers can be sanitised and reused on multiple occasions prior to disposal, meaning the initial purchase cost is absorbed more easily by businesses. Reusable containers can often be hired for specific journeys and returned to a branch of the hiring organisation at a convenient location within a global network for sanitisation and reuse, minimising costs while improving a business’s environmental credentials.

Reusable containers usually offer active temperature monitoring and controls, enabling intervention to be made early enough to prevent the contents from being impacted by temperature fluctuations. Combined with sophisticated tracking technology, which is becoming more prevalent in all logistics networks, this enables companies to guarantee the efficacy of their product irrespective of any delays incurred whilst in transit.

Reusable containers are very sturdy and able to withstand impacts whilst in transit. This protects their contents from damage and can increase a business’s reputation and profitability.

In conclusion

At Tower Cold Chain, we are totally committed to improving our environmental credentials and supporting our customers in achieving carbon savings. To this end, we only supply reusable cold chain shipping containers of the highest quality. We maintain full responsibility for all hired units, ensuring the highest hygiene and quality standards are achieved at all times. To find out more about our range of cold chain solutions, contact us today.