Westpack & RLC Packaging Optimisation Project Carbon Footprint Reduction & Increased Recyclability

Westpack Case Study

Project Brief

As part of their ESG strategy and to enhance their ECOVADIS rating, RLC launched a project to review their primary packaging solution from a sustainability and cost perspective.

RLC engaged Westpack, as their packaging supply partner, to create a packaging solution with a lower carbon footprint, increased recyclability & lower cost. The high value and crucial nature of the product being shipped meant that, under no circumstances, could the robust performance of the existing solution be compromised.

Current Packaging Solution

The current packaging solution is a corrugated pack with EPS foam laminated to the inside. The current process begins with the box manufactured by Westpack in Sheffield which is transported to the North East where the foam is laminated, the pack is then returned to Sheffield where it is assembled and then delivered to RLC near Burnley.

CO2 Impact:

  • Supply chain mileage – Box to foam convertor 123 miles, Foam Manufacturer to Foam convertor 170 miles, back to box supplier 123 miles on to customer 70 miles.
    • Total = 486 miles per order
    • 76 orders pa = 36,936 miles pa
  • Boxes supplied to the customer assembled so only 52 per pallet
  • Recyclability – although both corrugated and the EPS can be recycled, as the substrates are laminated together, the pack is contaminated and cannot be easily recycled so will end of life in landfill.

Cost Impact:

  • EPS Foam is a more expensive substrate than corrugated
  • Excessive transport and multiple production processes impact cost negatively

New Packaging Solution

The new solution is a corrugated only solution, removing all EPS Foam, which is supplied flat packed to the customer. It is quick assembly so does not materially impact the speed of packing compared to the assembled pack.

The removal of the foam allows for a more efficient supply chain and lower cost materials giving the following positive results:

  • Supply chain mileage reduced from 486 miles to 70 miles per order, 36,936 to 5,320 pa:
    • 25,706 miles pa
    • 5 tonnes CO2 pa
  • Flat packed supply, increases pallet qty from 52 to 175, reducing number of pallets pa from 304 to 180, in addition to supply chain mileage reduces number of orders by 41% to 45:
    • Further 2170 miles removed from supply chain (76 to 31 orders)
    • 8 tonnes CO2 pa
  • Fully recyclable pack via paper recycling stream:
    • Reduces landfill by 23 tonnes pa
  • Removal of EPS foam and reduced transport costs = Cost benefit of 51%
  • Positive contribution towards improved ECOVADIS rating
  • Protects against future cost implications from new EPRN legislation

CO2 Reduction Equivalent

58,250 miles in Diesel Car

2.8m mobile phone charges

11.6 return flights from Paris to New York



If you wish to discuss your own packaging optimisation projects with the Westpack team then please contact either John Kearney john@westpack.co.uk 07900 270380 or Andy Mitchell andrewm@westpack.co.uk 07715 376508

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