Cardboard isn’t waste, it is packaging material

An initiative to give cardboard packaging a new purpose results in increased sustainability and cost savings in our distribution center in Byhalia, US.
Cardboard isn’t waste, it is packaging material

A one million square foot distribution center that moves approximately 130,000 lines through the receiving, put-away and packing process each week generates some significant waste, most of which is in the form of corrugated cardboard packaging. Thanks to an initiative by Volvo Production System Specialist, Hector De Graft Johnson, that cardboard waste is finding new life as repurposed packaging material, made right in the warehouse.

It was in March of 2017 during his daily walk-around that Hector noticed the trash bins were overflowing – with cardboard boxes.

“I asked our Business Control Manager, how much we spend on waste disposal,” says Hector.

He discovered that a lot of money was spent on removing recyclable material that he noticed could be repurposed in the distribution center. 

“Most of our waste wasn’t waste, but cardboard boxes.” And those cardboard boxes, Hector knew, could be turned into packaging for outbound shipments and replace some of the expensive Kraft paper used. A pilot was launched to test the new way of working.

During the pilot program, Byhalia associate Chris Hogan used a small shredder to create new packing material.

“The results are good and the customers are pleased with the packaging”, says Hector.

In fact, apart from making the packaging more sustainable and significant cost savings, the new packaging material has also reduced the damage claims being filed for shipments from Byhalia. In March 2018 an industrial sized shredder has been installed and the new way of packaging has now been fully implemented.

“The cardboard recycling project has made a difference for the company and its customers, and is an excellent example of continuous improvement in action,” says Onur Orcun, former director Byhalia Distribution Center.
Within Volvo Group ‘Continuous Improvement’ is a corner stone, everyone is encouraged to see new ways of working in their everyday work.