Thursday, August 25th, 2011
Dunnage is the packing material used to protect cargo during shipment, and something 99% of us never think about. Paylode Cargo Protection Systems (New Concord, OH) does more than think about it, however. As proof it makes and markets a system of thermoformed components made of recycled plastic that replaces disposable dunnage, saving companies like Anheuser Busch and MillerCoors, among others, millions of dollars every year.
Paylode is a cradle-to-cradle solution. Components are made initially of recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and recycled again at their end-of-life to make new ones, which absolutely confirms plastic sustainability. The company is deep in thick-sheet thermoforming technology and extrudes its plastic sheet in house to ensure quality.
Paylode products are enjoying a great reception in the market, says Paul Fitzgerald, Director of Paylode Cargo Systems, and beer maker MillerCoors is a good example of why. The company ships over half a million loads of beer by truck and rail to its distributors every year, and uses dunnage to protect and balance its beer.
MillerCoors was filling the empty spaces in trucks and railcars with cardboard and wood, which often was thrown away (think landfill) after a shipment—rough on the environment and the brewer’s bottom line. When it tested Paylode spacers and separator pads a few years ago it found multiple benefits.
Paylode components are made to take 20,000 pounds of force, but since they weigh less than half the wooden components they replace, they allow more product per shipment and are a lot easier on workers loading and unloading—no splinters. And they nest for the trip back to the brewery.
Other benefits to MillerCoors: Its 2015 goal of eliminating 20% of its landfill waste was met in 2010. It eliminates an estimated 7700 tons of solid waste and saves about 41,500 trees every year. It got rid of the source of 25% of all its recordable injuries. And not to forget that MillerCoors is a business, it realizes $8 million in annual savings by using Paylode Cargo Systems instead of buying cardboard and wood dunnage, and enjoys 60% less shipping damage. Paylode, for its part, is busy developing other applications.
Note to our plastics folks: You may be tempted to think Paylode products are a perfect example of plastics sustainability: a cradle-to-cradle closed-loop usage cycle that starts with recycled material and doesn’t create waste. Me, I’m giving in to that temptation.