Why Packaging Waste Matters: New Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Updates

The way we package our goods can significantly contribute to a better planet, so it’s no surprise the spotlight is now on sustainability in packaging practices, with updated regulations on packaging waste set to come in October 2025.
These regulations come in the form of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), a regulatory framework aimed at changing how we approach packaging waste. Whether you’re sourcing materials domestically or relying on imports, this impending scheme is set to reshape your packaging operations.
This blog serves as an informative follow-up to our previous discussions on the topic, providing the latest updates on EPR.

Understanding EPR

At its core, EPR shifts the responsibility for packaging waste management onto producers, requiring them to bear the full cost of collection, sorting, treatment, and recycling. Recent updates to EPR regulations have brought about significant changes, including the introduction of modulated fees. The payment year has also been deferred from October 2024 to October 2025, however, businesses are still required to declare their packaging waste for 2023.
This initiative is driven by the objective of incentivising producers to limit packaging waste and enhance recyclability. This shift inevitably carries financial implications, as costs are predicted to increase. Therefore, it’s important to understand how EPR will influence your packaging operations and how you can proactively mitigate associated expenses.

Aligning Packaging Practices with EPR

EPR encourages producers to rethink packaging choices and design, urging businesses to embrace recyclable materials and eco-design principles while reducing waste. As companies gear up to comply with EPR regulations, it’s clear that innovative solutions will be essential in meeting these new standards effectively.

How can Right Size Packaging Help?

Right Size solutions combine Ribble’s industry-leading Fanfold material and state-of-the-art technology to create the perfect size box for all products. This ensures every item of packaging fits the product exactly, negating the need for void fillers and excess packaging.
We have a simple 4-step process for our Right Size solutions:
1. Enter box style and dimensions.
2. Select how many are required.
3. The box is produced within seconds.
4. Products are packaged in the perfect-sized box.

As well as saving on EPR tax, businesses will save on fuel and transport costs, regain warehouse space and save on labour costs, all resulting in up to 30% savings on packaging costs.
If you would like to discuss EPR in more detail with some of the packaging experts at Ribble Packaging, you can contact us at info@ribble-pack.co.uk or visit our contact page.

Protective & sustainable packaging

Have you ever thought about how much excess packaging comes with new furniture?

The truth is that sometimes we get more than we need, and it’s understandable because the manufacturer only includes the extra foam, bubble wrap or tissue paper to protect the items whilst in transit to their destination. However, Right Size solutions offer a more effective and sustainable alternative to furniture packaging.

What are the Ribble Right Size solutions?

Right Size solutions enable the customisation and creation of the correct sized box for pieces of furniture.

Create protective and sustainable furniture packaging.

At Ribble Packaging, not only is our priority creating packaging that is kind to the environment, we also create packaging that protects the products inside. With custom made, recycled fittings that are placed around the product inside, customers can rest assured that their product will arrive to them safely.

The secure and protective fittings mean that products arrive at their destination, undamaged while still reducing excess fillings and saving space.

Perfect-sized boxes are created within minutes using Ribble’s fanfold corrugated board and Panotec machine technology.

The box on-demand service can be installed on-site and gives manufacturers a choice to input the size of the product manually or automatically through a barcode or a 3D scanner system.

Additionally, manufacturers can enter the works order to ensure the correct number of boxes is made for the particular piece of furniture.

What are the benefits of using Right Size?

No more excess packaging 

Right Size packaging will protect assembled or flat-pack furniture, which removes the need to add unnecessary and excessive protective fillers, including plastic cushioning material, ultimately creating a 100% recyclable packaging process for all your furniture products.

Savings on packaging costs 

Right Size solutions can create a 30% saving on packaging costs and remove the need to fill minimum order quantities from suppliers. Furthermore, the box on-demand creates the perfect-size box every time, so there is no longer the need to stock-pile wrong sized boxes.

Customer satisfaction 

Presenting customers with the perfect-sized, 100% recyclable packaging for their furniture is sure to put a smile on their faces, in addition to showing that you are taking steps to fulfil your corporate social responsibilities.

If you’d like more information on how you could save up to 30% on your packaging costs, get in touch with us today.

How sustainable is your Christmas packaging?

It’s that time of year again. The time that we do everything in excess, from food, to spending.

But does that mean you have to have an unsustainable Christmas?

As we all know, Christmas can be a time for spending time with loved ones and exchanging gifts, but with it is estimated that around 1 in 4 households will be generating up to 5 bags of rubbish this Christmas!

Much of children’s toys are packaged in plastic or oversized packaging which is bulky and often unnecessary for the size of the present inside. On top of that, there is wrapping paper which, often, you are unable to recycle, which then doubles the amount of waste.

Let’s not forget about the Christmas dinner. Single use plastics have come to the forefront of the sustainable packaging discussion, many of which occur as a result of food packaging.

How can you make your Christmas more sustainable?

It is everybody’s responsibility, to make small changes this Christmas in an effort to reduce the amount of waste created within the household. So, we have put together a few pointers that may help you make some more sustainable choices.

Recyclable wrapping paper

If you’re unsure about what wrapping paper can be recycled and what can’t, it’s important to check with your local recycling centre. Recycle Now have some great pointers on what you can do to ensure that your paper does actually get recycled if accepted at your local centre, including:

  • Making sure all sticky tape, bows and ribbons are removed before recycling
  • Only recycling simple wrapping paper that doesn’t have any glitter or foil as these cannot be recycled.

Present sacks

Another way to reduce the waste this Christmas is to purchase some present sacks & stockings. These can be brought back out every Christmas and eliminate the need to wrap your gifts or find recyclable wrapping paper.

Food & drinks using sustainable packaging

Many supermarkets are introducing refillable packaging services within their stores and this is likely to continue. Why not check out your local supermarket to see if there are any ingredients in your Christmas dinner that could be switched out for a more sustainably packaged option?

Ribble Right Size

At Ribble our aim is to introduce Right Size packaging to more and more manufacturers so that we can help reduce the overall waste when it comes to cardboard packaging.

 

Get in touch today to find out more about the benefits of Right Size.

Packaging in 2022 – The key solutions for the New Year

Since the beginning of the pandemic, retail has seen a significant shift to ecommerce shopping methods. With that brings increased need for additional packaging when transporting and shipping goods.

As a result, this will continue to increase the need for more sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging solutions.

We have been exploring the key packaging solutions that we believe will become increasingly popular in the new year.

Packaging Automation

With COVID 19 continuing to be a threat across the globe, the automation of packaging will continue to be important for many manufacturers and distributors. This will reduce the amount of workers needed within one space and overall costs to the business too.

Not only that, automating your process will allow the business to increase their targets, which will continue to improve efficiency.

Ecommerce Packaging

The shift in consumer behaviour since the beginning of the pandemic is highly unlikely to ever return to pre-COVID levels. As a result, consumers will continue to expect a smooth and flawless experience – from browsing their purchase to placing their order and its delivery.

This means every detail, right down to the packaging must impress. Consumers are aware of the environmental issues facing the planet and with that they expect to see changes to the ways in which their goods are packaged and delivered to them. Reducing unnecessary and excess packaging is a crucial step in that process.

Reusable Packaging

Reusable packaging has become very popular in recent years and can be seen in more and more shapes and forms. Whether that is reusable plastic for cleaning products or paper bags that can also be used as wrapping paper.

When packaging isn’t necessarily reusable, it is important for consumers that it is made from recycled materials or can be recycled once used.

Ribble Right Size

At Ribble our Right Size Packaging solutions allows you to reduce excess packaging and create a sustainable alternative that reduces costs by creating custom packaging solutions to meet your needs. We use 100% recycled cardboard that is 100% recyclable, meaning it is the perfect sustainable solution.

The benefits for choosing Right Size can be seen in the reduced need for void fillers within your boxes due to the packaging being custom created for whatever you are distributing; you can improve your vehicle utilisation by up to 25% and the creation of a more environmentally sustainable packaging process.

Get in touch today to discuss how Right Size can improve your business packaging solutions.

Helping businesses to reduce waste and carbon emissions

“As terrifying as it is, climate change is setting us on a path of self-destruction.”

Ribble Packaging were delighted to have been able to take part in Insider’s Green Revolution. Discussing and highlighting the importance of sustainability within businesses in the North West and how we can play our part in meeting the challenges of the current climate crisis.

The article discussed how the record growth of ecommerce over the past year has put a huge strain on companies to meet demand, which has meant that we have seen shortages from raw materials to lorry drivers.

Our Managing Director, Stephen Rector, explained; “Boxes are often too large for their products and so they are filled with non-sustainable ‘void-fill’ materials like plastic or polystyrene. It is clearly a hugely wasteful and inefficient method of getting the product out.”

Ribble customers usually see a 30% saving on corrugated costs and recovery of warehouse space with the elimination of obsolete packaging storage.

Stephen went on to discuss the ways in which Right Size packaging solutions can; “Streamline the entire process and mitigates or ideally eliminates void-fill and wastage by making the packaging perfectly sized to fit the product”.

Right Size packaging automation has allowed business over the past year to not have to rely so heavily on manual labour in a time when the pandemic put a serious strain on the labour reliant aspect of supply chains. The introduction of automation has not only encouraged waste reduction, but it’s also allowed businesses to operate in a more efficient, controllable and reliable way.

If you would like more information on how Ribble Packaging could help your business become more environmentally friendly, please contact us today.

The Lifecycle of a Cardboard Box: Corrugated Packaging & The Circular Economy

The environmental impact of materials and products has become a growing talking point across many industries because of the huge amounts of waste going to landfill. It’s time to make a change and we’re here to share with you the many benefits of adopting a circular economy.

A lot more goes into the lifecycle of a cardboard box to make it eco-friendly, than you might think and the process of being environmentally friendly starts early on. In fact, 80% of a product’s environmental impact is locked in at the design stage!

What is the circular economy?

Traditionally, the economy used to operate a linear model, where we would make a product, use it and then dispose of it. The difference with a circular economy is that resources are kept in use for as long as possible by extracting the most value from them at every stage when in use and at the end of their life by recovering and regenerating products and materials.

Moving from a “make, use, dispose of” to a “make/remake, use/reuse” process.

How does the lifecycle of corrugated cardboard relate to a circular economy?

The circular economy is just the way of life for the corrugated packaging industry. After all, it is one of the most recycled paper products. as its 100% recyclable and biodegradable. At Ribble Packaging, all our corrugated papers are FSC Certified meaning that all the papers used can be traced as far back to the specific tree that they came from. Here’s a summary of what happens at each stage…

The Circular Economy Model

Stage 1: Design & Manufacture (using raw materials to create a product)

When designing a product, the designer must consider how a product will be collected and recycled after use, how to select materials and processes that reduce any impact on the environment and lastly, how they can extend the life of the product.

Stage 2: Retailer (selling a product to consumer)

In the circular economy, there’s an opportunity for retailers to improve customer experience and connect with new customers on a deeper level by establishing shared values concerning the environment. Consumers are demanding these days with online retailers playing a particularly big role in the delivery of a circular economy.

The retailer should consider how they can increase the lifetime of products and how they can make it easier for consumers to recycle, resell and donate. As well as reducing packaging waste when sending products in the wrong size boxes with excessive void fillers.

Stage 3: Consumer

Whilst consumers are wanting a more sustainable world, they are reluctant to overpay for this. Therefore, it’s important to consider the consumer when pricing. Prices need to be fair and reflect quality.

Stage 4: Re-use/Repair/Repurpose product if possible

Re-use and recycling are not the same. Re-use of products and materials is more beneficial

as it retains a product’s value by keeping it in use for longer. Thus, minimising waste, creating jobs, and reducing consumption and the carbon impact it has.

To reduce the amount of product we send to landfills we need to increase the rate of re-use for products and their components. The supply chain and consumers both play an important role in this stage of the circular economy model.

Consider an incentivised return for returned products that can be refurbished and resold. As well as maximising the product lifetime to reduce repeated purchases.

Stage 5: Recycle into raw material to begin at stage 1 again.

This involves the collection, sorting and processing of disposed materials for use in other manufacturing processes. Depending on the complexity of the product being recycled, the process will vary, and care needs to be taken to maintain the integrity of materials each time they are recycled.

To conclude, the circular economy essentially feeds material back into the process ready for something new to be created using the recycled materials. In relation to corrugated boxes, a new box is created by feeding the used paper back into the cycle.

Eventually, the UK will run out of natural resources if we don’t move to a circular economy. It sounds sensationalist but the evidence is stacking up and the impact of our linear economy is becoming increasingly apparent across many industries.

If you’d like to speak to us about how Ribble is helping companies like yours to reduce their environmental impact by reducing packaging waste, give us a call on 0161 284 9000 or email info@ribble-pack.co.uk

Reduce Waste and Carbon Emissions With Right Size Solutions

Right Size: Helping businesses reduce waste and carbon emissions

Online retail sales have been soaring at an all-time high during the COVID-19 pandemic with the IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index recording a growth of 36% in 2020. As a result, demand for recyclable and sustainable packaging solutions, such as corrugated board, has increased dramatically.

Stephen Rector, Managing Director of Ribble Packaging, explains, “In itself, corrugated board for boxes is a very sustainable and recyclable product. The recycling rates for paper and board in the UK are extremely high in comparison to other packaging products and they are increasing.”

However, the correct and responsible use of packaging solutions is necessary in order to be fully sustainable. Stephen explains “Boxes are often too large for their products and so they are filled with non-sustainable ‘void-fill’ materials like plastic, bubble wrap or polystyrene.  It is clearly a hugely wasteful and inefficient method of getting the product out.”

Reducing wastage with Right Size.

Ribble Packaging, a packaging solutions provider based in Oldham, manufacture corrugated board from recycled paper. Rector says, “In total, 100% of our corrugated board is 100% recyclable, while the paper we buy to manufacture our board is 100% recycled. So, our raw material is 100% recycled and our product is 100% recyclable.”

This product is flexible, cost-effective and can be converted into Fanfold packaging which is a long piece of corrugated board scored at regular intervals and folded neatly and compactly. Fanfold can then be used to pack single or multiple products by feeding it into fully automated packaging machines to create an exact size box and therefore, eliminate waste.

Ribble Packaging are the European market leader for the manufacture and supply of corrugated Fanfold, in addition to pioneering Right Size packaging solutions in the UK. “Right size packaging streamlines the entire process and mitigates or ideally eliminates void-fill and wastage by making the packaging perfectly sized to fit the product” Rector explains.

When using the correct size packaging, carbon emissions can also be reduced, as more products can be loaded onto vehicles ready for dispatch and thus increase vehicle utilisation by around 25%. According to The Road Transport Industry report in 2019, “78% of goods are moved by road”, and transportation costs can be a huge part of a company’s overall logistics spending. If it’s possible to reduce this through Right Size packaging, its arguably one of the most beneficial solutions a company can implement due to the ever-rising fuel costs and the impact this can then have on the price of goods to the end-user.

How can automation help?

Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many retailers to rethink their entire business model and consider adopting an automated process for packaging. The Coronavirus pandemic will be a defining moment in history for years to come for many reasons, but if you are an online retailer you’re likely to have witnessed a considerable peak in sales during the lockdown. With more and more consumers left with no outlet for escape, it is no wonder those who had never shopped online before chose to switch to e-commerce. This was of course great news for online retailers who unlike other businesses could thrive in sales, but in reality, many e-fulfilment centres struggled to cope with demand.

Those already with fully automated systems in place were in a beneficial position as they could safely limit the number of staff in the warehouse and abide by social distancing during this unprecedented time. Over the past year many retailers have followed suit as they realised the benefits and resilience automation allows during unprecedented times.

Rector explains, “The majority of retailers rely on manual labour, especially for packing processes, but the pandemic has really brought home the benefits of automation. In the face of COVID-related staff absences and social distancing requirements, one of these fully automated machines operated by just two people can pack up to 1,000 units an hour and do the job of 10 efficient packers.”

Not only does automated packaging provide a sustainable option and encourage waste reduction, but packaging automation also provides reassurance for consumers. During a world-wide health crisis, consumers have understandably grown more concerned about where they source their products and having knowledge that their product and its packaging has been handled by as few people as possible is a new selling point for retailers.

“As one of the pioneers of right size packaging in the UK, we are not prepared to sit on our laurels,” says Rector. “We have earmarked £3.5million over the next two years to significantly increase capacity of fanfold manufacture and protect our hard-won position as the UK’s fanfold market leader. The business-to-consumer market is growing exponentially and our continuing investment is designed to maintain our market position in this rapidly growing sector.”

The packaging process that is over 99% plastic free

Internet Fusion Group, a leading lifestyle e-commerce retailer with brands such as Surfdome and Country Attire, have created a sustainable packaging process that is over 99% plastic free. Investments in two Quadient CVP-500 automated packaging machines and switching to Corrugated Fanfold material from Ribble Packaging, have aided with their pursuit of an environmentally sustainable right size packaging process.

To highlight the full extent of their achievements, Internet Fusion have released a report investigating the environmental effects of paper-based packaging versus plastic packaging products. The report explores the full manufacturing process of both paper and plastic packaging, through to the recyclability and long-term environmental effects once a package has reached its destination. Head of Sustainability at Internet Fusion Adam Hall said” Our customers are tired of plastic pollution, and we are tired of the justifications being put forward for continued plastic production in the middle of a marine plastic crisis. When you dig a little deeper these arguments simply don’t stack up, so we felt it was time to share the decision-making process that has led us to our packaging being over 99% plastic free. Our customers choose us because of our environmental efforts and in turn we choose Ribble for the same reasons – it’s partnerships such as these that can shift a whole industry towards a more sustainable future”.

Right Size packaging specialists Ribble Packaging supply Internet Fusion with over 75% of their packaging material in the form of Corrugated Fanfold board, a versatile fully recycled and recyclable cardboard product that feeds many of the leading automated packaging systems in the UK.

Stephen Rector, Managing Director of Ribble Packaging, commented on Internet Fusion’s success: “It is fantastic to see that Ribble products are helping our customers in creating more environmentally sustainable packaging processes. We also see the need to improve our in-house operations to make them more sustainable.”

Earlier this year, Ribble embarked on a project to make their operations carbon neutral. “We understand the need to focus on the effects our manufacturing process has on the environment, this has led to us embarking on a carbon neutral project that will see us embrace new sustainable technologies and practices. Our products allow customers to create a more sustainable packaging process, but we can enhance these benefits by offering a carbon neutral manufacturing process as well.”

Sustainability Made Simple With Packaging Automation

With a growing need for companies to accelerate their sustainability and social responsibility, it’s come as no surprise that 2020 has seen more and more businesses continuing to phase out the use of plastic packaging and introduce packaging automation. Just recently, Lego have stated that they are aiming for all packaging to be sustainable by 2025. Neils B Christiansen, CEO at Lego Group says,

 “It’s critical to take urgent action now to care for the planet and future generations.”

Caring for the future is a mission that every business globally needs to adopt, not only because it’s important to value the planet, but you must ensure you don’t lose sight of your consumers values and the fundamental changes they come up against as a result of climate change.

Whilst the global coronavirus pandemic has taken hold, many retailers and other industries have recognised the need for automation across many departments, as would be expected due to the shortfall of workers and the urgent need for hygienic, sanitary processes to be in place.

But how can packaging automation help create a more sustainable process?

In terms of packaging, automating the process not only vastly improves the efficiency of your business by reducing the strain of your workforce and improving the quality of your packaging, right size packaging solutions will also decrease any waste. Not only this, your efficiency levels will be optimised as automated packaging means less reliance on workforce, as machines do not need a ‘break’.

Reducing packaging waste also means that if you do use plastic packaging for your items, this usage is kept to an absolute minimum. At Ribble, we preserve environmental resources by using 100% recycled and recyclable Fanfold for our automated packaging solutions.

Adopting a right size packaging solution to your business, does exactly what it says – you have the right size box to fit the product meaning no excess waste, leading to improved sustainability. It will size, construct, weigh and label each custom order to create the perfect package and eliminate the need for any fill material – saving you money on labour and reducing box volume for delivery.

Businesses who have incorporated our right-size packaging solution have saved 30% in packaging costs!

By having smaller packages for your products, you will also utilise available courier vehicle space better, which will in turn reduce the number of vehicles on the road, reducing your CO2 emissions and collectively making you a more sustainable business.

In celebration of Recycling Week 2020, we’re inviting you to a virtual demonstration of how right size solutions can make your packaging more sustainable. In just 15 minutes, you’ll learn how your business can go green. To register please visit http://ribble-pack.co.uk/campaigns/go-green-in-15.

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