The Rise of Reusable Packaging: Understanding the Impact & Mapping a Path to Scale
A list of the key (industry-specific) terms and their meaning frequently used in the report.
A fixed point of reference, representative of the current scenario, that is used for comparison purposes.
CARBON DIOXIDE EQUIVALENT (CO2 eq)
A metric measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases on the basis of their global-warming potential (GWP), by converting amounts of other gases to the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide with the same global warming potential. The terms CO2 eq and carbon emissions are used interchangeably hereafter.
CENTRALISED REUSABLE SYSTEM
A reusable system that utilises an additional node for packaging to pass-through for cleaning, maintenance or other purposes – separate from the distribution centre. It is usually operated by the reusable packaging provider.
The process of a packaging being sent from the Distribution Centre (DC), to the consumer and then returned back to the DC. In the Centralised reusable system, it includes an additional stage in travelling to the cleaning and maintenance node.
DECENTRALISED REUSABLE SYSTEM
A reusable system that does not utilise an additional node for packaging – all cleaning or maintenance takes place within the distribution centre, i.e. is not centralised in one place.
DISTRIBUTION CENTRE (DC)
A specialised building that’s designed to store products for retailers and wholesalers, to be redistributed to another location or directly to customers. Distribution centres are an integral part of the order fulfilment process, especially for online retailers.1
Eco-costs are a measure to express the amount of environmental burden of a product on the basis of prevention of that burden. It is the costs which should be made to reduce the environmental pollution and materials depletion in our world to a level which is in line with the carrying capacity of our earth. The practical use of eco-costs is to compare the sustainability of different products and/or services with the same functionality.2
Refers to the buying and selling of goods or services using the internet, and the transfer of money and data to execute these transactions.3
FAST TRACK LCA
The ‘Fast Track’ LCA is where the output of the classical LCA (materials with existing quantified environmental impact) is input for the Fast Track calculation, and where the methodological focus is on the comparison of design alternatives.4
Last mile logistics refers to the final step of the delivery process from a distribution center or facility to the end-user.5
LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT (LCA)
A methodological framework for estimating and assessing the environmental impacts attributable to the life cycle of a product. It provides a systematic framework that helps to identify, quantify, interpret and evaluate the environmental impacts of a product, function or service in an orderly way.6
LOW DENSITY POLYETHYLENE (LDPE) MAILER
Self-sealing envelopes that are commonly used in the shipment of apparel in e-commerce.
An additional connection point between two parts of the supply chain. In this context, it is used to refer to the cleaning and maintenance stage in the centralised reusable system.
The rate at which reusable packaging is not returned from the consumer back to the brand. Expressed as a percentage of total number of packages sent.
The process of moving goods from their typical final destination (to the distribution centre or manufacturer) for the purpose of capturing value, or proper disposal.7
The system boundaries determine which unit processes to be included in the LCA study. Defining system boundaries is partly based on a subjective choice, made during the scope phase when the boundaries are initially set.8
Goods that are made primarily from fossil fuel–based chemicals (petrochemicals) and are meant to be disposed of right after use. Single-use plastics are most commonly used for packaging and serviceware, such as bottles, wrappers, straws, and bags.9
THIRD-PARTY LOGISTICS (3PL) COMPANIES
A provider that offers outsourced logistics services; which encompass anything that involves management of one or more facets of procurement, distribution and fulfillment activities.10