Operations > Waste Reduction > 

Optimizing Packaging

Packaging has environmental impacts throughout its life cycle, including material use, transport emissions and waste disposal. We believe the best strategy for eliminating waste and optimizing efficiency is to use robust, durable, returnable packaging that can survive years of repeated reuse.

Reducing Our Overall Impact

Our own standard range of packaging not only protects its contents but also allows for maximum storage density during transportation. We always review the packaging of new parts before the full launch of any product, to assess opportunities for improvement.

Using standardized packaging makes packaging more interchangeable between suppliers and across programs. In many locations, we have contracts with packaging providers to collect and pool packaging for our suppliers. By enabling it to be forwarded to where it is next needed rather than having to be returned to the previous supplier, we have reduced our overall transport impact considerably.

We continually work to share best practice between regions and drive improvements in packaging. Ford’s packaging guidelines require supplier-provided packaging to have a neutral or positive environmental footprint, achieved through zero waste to landfill and the use of 100 percent recycled, renewable or recyclable materials.

Reusable IsoBins are being used on some of our long-distance ocean freight routes.

Case Study

IsoBins for Long-Distance Ocean Freight

The biggest challenge in sustainable packaging has been its implementation for long-distance ocean freight. Traditionally, most automotive parts shipped by sea are packed in modular, cardboard boxes, but we’re working to reduce this dependence on cardboard by using IsoBins: durable plastic containers specially designed for use at sea. This solution enables logistics providers to use the return leg for shipping material for other customers, rather than shipping back empty containers to the initial supplier.

Following successful trials, we have introduced them on our lengthy ocean supply routes between Europe and South Africa. We are now investigating their suitability for our transatlantic freight lanes.