Returnable Packaging

Returnable packaging includes pallets, tanks, bins, totes, and other packaging components that enable products to move safely through the supply chain before being returned to suppliers for reuse. Besides the obvious environmental benefits, returnable packaging offers many other advantages, including increased durability, versatility, and cost savings.

Benefits of Using Returnable Packaging

Returnable packaging is an improvement on expendable, single-use packaging, and it offers concrete functional, environmental, and financial advantages.

Durability & Ease

Using returnable packaging protects both your products and your employees and customers. Plastic and metal returnable packaging are designed to hold a significant amount of weight and be easily stackable, enabling more efficient transport and storage. Returnable packaging is meant for repeated use and has a long-life cycle, making it ideal for protecting products during transit.

Returnable packaging is consistently sized, easy to use and clean, and eliminates the needs for expendable closures, which protects workers and customers from the dangers of box cutters, nails, staples, and unwanted pests in wood/cardboard packaging.


Returnable packaging is available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. Many types of returnable packaging can be easily folded, collapsed, or nested to reduce the expense of returning it. Packaging is available for all types of products, including hazardous materials, liquid, bulk items, and those requiring flame-retardant packaging.

Packaging Life Cycle & Recycling

Returnable packaging is designed to last for years of use and reuse, and can be recycled when it reaches the end of its life cycle. Single-use packaging offers little value, and may even add costs such as landfill fees upon disposal. Even single-use, recyclable packaging may end up adding costs in collection, cleaning, and preparation for recycling.


Returnable packaging, such as bulk plastic containers made with HDPE, may have a higher initial cost, but that cost is mitigated over its long life cycle.

Environmental Considerations

Returnable packaging can be recycled when it reaches the end of its long life, greatly reducing its environmental impact.

When Is It Best to Use Returnable Packaging?

There are many situations where returnable packaging offer the greatest advantage, including:

  • High-volume shipments
  • Frequent deliveries
  • Shorter distances
  • To eliminate high volumes of solid waste
  • To limit product damage
  • To eliminate costly expendable packaging
  • To increase worker safety and ergonomics
  • To provide additional cleanliness
  • To increase warehouse and trailer space

Industry Applications for Returnable Packaging

Returnable packaging is used in a diverse variety of industries, including:

  • Food and beverage
  • Produce
  • Electronics
  • General manufacturing
  • Appliance
  • Automotive
  • Chemical
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Aerospace
  • Textiles
  • And more

Returnable Packaging with A-1 Packaging Solutions

At A-1 Packaging Solutions, we offer a complete packaging and tracking system. Popular packaging options include:

  • Plastic containers (Intermediate Bulk Containers, or, IBCs)
  • Hazardous and non-hazardous material containers
  • Liquid and bulk containers – also with safety lids and safety bases
  • Fire-retardant containers

We also provide state-of-the-art inventory tracking with our Forklift-based LivePoint® SDW (System Directed Workforce) RFID Solution, which automates processes, eliminates errors, and eliminates handheld scanning resulting in reduced costs, accurate asset control minimized loss and increased productivity.

At A-1 Packaging Solutions, our comprehensive knowledge and expertise in the IBC industry and commitment to customer satisfaction ensures that you get a packaging system suited to your exact needs. We even offer customized operating leases for your unique situations. For more information, or to get started on your returnable packaging solution, contact us today.