Resources and Waste Strategy: a packaging opportunity for bodyshops
In December 2018 DEFRA published the Resources and Waste Strategy. It’s the first government directive of its kind in over a decade and sets out a 25 year plan to ‘leave the environment in a better condition for the next generation’.
One of the key elements of the report that affects the automotive industry, particularly bodyshops, dealerships and their logistics partners, is the focus on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging.
Current legislation details that packaging producers are required to cover 10% of the cost of the packaging they distribute into the wider market which becomes waste when it’s no longer useful. The latest DEFRA strategy recommends this increases to 100%.
At the moment the standard process is for a bodyshop to order a part, which is delivered in some sort of packaging (typically a cardboard box). The new part is removed from the packaging and used in a repair or service; this box or bag then becomes ‘waste’ and the site is responsible for its disposal.
Whilst it is not realistic to expect a situation where packaging producers are paying individual sites to cover the cost of their waste disposal, the legislation will shift focus to the original packaging producers (OEM’s, Aftermarket Suppliers) and increase pressure for them to engage in a proactive approach to manage resources.
Rather than delivering parts and then dissolving themselves of responsibility at the point of delivery packaging has become an area offering producers opportunities to innovate. From reviewing pack design and materials to alternative collection processes, the problem can be tackled from several angles.
For example, SWRnewstar has had success in implementing backhaul systems with third party logistics suppliers which has supported EPR, reduced costs of waste disposal on site and generated revenue from consolidating waste and turning it into a ‘product’ with value.
Changing the focus of packaging as ‘waste to be got rid of’ to a resource that can be managed is fundamental to achieving best value and enhancing environmental credentials.