Ditching the plastic

Jul 04 | 2024

In the June edition of The Mover, we published a press release from Nuss Relocations in Australia explaining that the company had stopped using plastic packing materials in Sydney.

Nuss Relocations has replaced plastic packagingWe felt that the story needed more investigation so here, Ray Beard and Nigel Mayo Saunders explain why they decided to change and the benefits they expect as a result.

The moving industry has been under pressure, for some time, from customers, particularly corporations, to be more sustainable. For them it’s an important part of reducing their Scope 3 emissions. Nigel said that Nuss Relocations has been under pressure, to a varying degree, from corporate accounts to reduce emissions. That was a factor in Nuss making the decision to remove plastic materials from their packing. But it was just part of the story. “For many years we've been trying to do what we can to minimise our carbon footprint and be as environmentally friendly as we can,” he explained. “For example, our solar panels generate around 96% of the electricity we use in our warehouse and offices. We are also very proud to have attained a Gold accreditation with business sustainability audit company EcoVardis. It was a natural step to want to get rid of the plastics.”

Nuss Relocations has replaced plastic packagingHe explained that he was uncomfortable about the volume of plastic materials left over following deliveries, most of which went to landfill, due to complications with recycling. It is also very difficult to recycle cartons if they have plastic tape on and impractical to remove it.

So the company set about finding alternative paper-based materials.  It sourced a paper tape that would successfully adhere to recycled cartons (not all of it does); replaced the plastic wrapping material with PleatWrap from Sofrapack in France; and sourced unbleached paper from Malaysia to replace the bleached white news offcuts used previously.  Australian suppliers were unable to help because they said there was no demand. “We realise that there is a carbon footprint involved in importing the materials,” explained Nigel.  “But the footprint of a container of materials is lower than people would imagine. Per cubic metre of wrapping material, it’s negligible.”  He acknowledges that buying in Australia would be even better but, until it’s available, they must import it.

Ray Beard said that the company’s Gold EcoVardis acccreditation was achieved before these changes came into effect and he is confident that they will have improved the scores further.  He is also a member of the FIDI sustainability working group and now that FIDI has recently launched the Carbon Calculator he is looking forward to using it to measure carbon emissions.  “I think it’s going to be a great tool,” he said. “It gives everyone a standard platform, so if everybody adopts it, we will all be measured in a consistent way and affiliates will be able to ascertain their own footprints and how to reduce them.”  This will also be a useful aid for corporate customers when assessing suppliers’ sustainability credentials.

Was there any resistance from packers who may have disliked change? ...

Photos: Nuss Relocations has replaced plastic packing materials with paper tape, PleatWrap from SofraPack in France and unbleached paper from Malaysia.

Click here to read the full story in The Mover magazine.

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