The true cost of pallet wrap can easily slip by unnoticed in the everyday business of packaging operations. And these hidden costs can quickly add up. To understand the true cost of pallet wrap, take time to consider the amount your operation is spending on pallet wrap and associated machinery. Because one simple switch – from a standard film to a high-performance alternative, like iWrap – could save you up to 25% in costs and reduce your use of plastic by 40%.

Read on to learn more about these overlooked costs and how you can optimise your pallet wrapping process.

Cost of pallet wrap – cost per roll vs or cost per pallet?

How are you costing your pallet wrap? Is it on a cost per roll or a cost per pallet basis? The norm has been on a cost per roll basis – at first glance, this can look a transparent and easy way to buy. These also tend to be a lower quality film, yes lower in price but it comes with its challenges.

Cheaper pallet wrap can be highly susceptible to breaks and tears. In short, it is simply not as strong as high performance film – meaning that pallets wrapped in low quality film often require re-wrapping multiple times in their journey from packaging to end point.

People often buy low quality pallet wrap because they are attracted to its low cost-per-roll basis.  The true cost of pallet wrap to the business is found in the cost per pallet wrapped. If you’re spending more than 50p wrapping a standard pallet – there are significant cost savings to be had moving to a high performance film.

Even though it may be a more expensive initial cost, choosing a film that offers the strength you need means you only need to wrap a pallet once. High-performance film has the potential to revolutionise your operation with its long-term financial savings alone – not to mention the reduction in plastic waste and more.

How the Plastic Packaging Tax is effecting the cost of pallet wrap

Cost of pallet wrap

The hidden cost of pallet wrap

Another cost that you may need to account for is the Plastic Packaging Tax. Charged on plastic packaging that doesn’t contain 30% or more recycled materials at a rate of £200 per tonne, the tax will have far-reaching effects for anyone manufacturing or importing plastic packaging.

It is imperative that you account for the effect that this could have on your business – and the steps you can take to save money and plastic at the same time. Such as investing in high performance pallet wrap that can help to optimise your wrapping and packaging processes.

The impact of the Plastic Packaging Tax is an important one across the packaging and logistics industry. To help understand its implications and protect your business against hidden costs, download our free Plastic Packaging Tax eGuide.

If you’re currently purchasing pallet wrap for your business, you may well be experiencing a sharp increase in costs. This will be down to the PPT – so how can you reduce this new cost? The beauty of high performance film means you need less to despatch and ship your products. Using less plastic means less tax associated costs.

 The true cost of pallet wrap

At Acopia, we always look for a win-win-win solution. A win for your pocket, as high performance film stretches further and saves you money. A win for your team, as they will spend less time wrapping pallets. And a win for the planet, as less plastic is used in the first place.

If you’d like to find out more about high performance pallet wrap and how it works so you can use less plastic, just pop over an email using the form below

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How prepared are you for the Plastic Packaging Tax? This is probably one of those questions we all like to avoid, but it’s got to be asked.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” And none of us want to fail when it comes to meeting tax obligations and their potential knock-on effects on business. On the contrary, by putting some time in now to prepare, you might find you can actually benefit – and add significant value to your business – from this new and imminent taxation.

But firstly, let’s take a quick look at what the Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) will mean for your organisation.

What the Plastic Packaging Tax means for you

The PPT takes effect on 1 April 2022. Its overarching aim is to encourage the use of recycled rather than new plastic within plastic packaging. It will apply to plastic packaging manufactured in, or imported into the UK, that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic, at a taxable rate of £200 per tonne.

You will be liable to register for the PPT if you import into the UK, or manufacture in the UK, plastic packaging or products contained in plastic packaging. Most importantly, you must register even if your packaging doesn’t require you to pay tax. In addition, updates continue to be applied to the Plastic Packaging Tax from HMRC, including recent changes to the ‘PPT Statement’ that you need to be aware of.

Changes to the Plastic Packaging Tax in the Autumn budget

Following announcements on the 27th October, six revisions to Plastic Packaging Tax have been proposed in the Autumn budget include:

  1. To allow HRMC to modify the timing of an import, and the meaning of import and custom formalities.
  2. Ensure that businesses who are below the de minimus threshold, who currently do not have a liability to register, do not have to pay the tax.
  3. Provide tax reliefs for persons enjoying certain immunities and privileges, such as visiting forces and diplomats, ensuring compliance with international tax agreements.
  4. Transfer the obligations and entitlements of PPT group members to the representative member of that group.
  5. Require HMRC to notify the representative of a PPT group of the date that applications for and modification of group treatment will take effect.
  6. Change certain terms used to describe unincorporated bodies to ensure consistency throughout the legislation.

As you can see with PPT, that the legislation is still being discussed. In a nutshell: you need to be prepared and kept up to date.

Prepare to succeed with the Plastic Packaging Tax

One crucial first step is to action an impact assessment across your organisation. This will help you develop a more robust picture of how the tax will affect your business, your operations, your processes.

We’ve devised a handy checklist for actions that can help you get started:

  1. Familiarise yourself with the new rules and obligations
  2. Assess supply chains and who the tax will affect
  3. Consider who will be responsible for the PPT accounting
  4. Establish training needs for staff and systems for compliance
  5. Initiate registration with HMRC and plan for annual registrations and de-registrations
  6. Develop reporting framework and administration for tax returns
  7. Assess any future changes to contracts and pricing
  8. Develop stakeholder communication and prepare reputational management strategy

One additional and vital factor as part of any impact assessment is to research alternative packaging options. The PPT naturally creates an opportunity for your organisation to realise your sustainable ambitions – choices that will save you money, improve your reputation and help preserve our environment. And this is where we can also help.

We’re here to help you prepare – and benefit

Acopia Plastic Packaging Tax eGuide

Acopia Plastic Packaging Tax eGuide

We know the importance that customers place on recyclable packaging. And we can help you make sense of the confusion across the industry and with consumers around the issues of plastics. Furthermore, we can guide you towards solutions that provide real benefits to the environment and to your business, supporting you to make sustainable packaging and process choices that are right for your organisation and reduce your tax liability. For instance, our range of high performance hand and machine pallet wrap reduces plastic wastage by 40% and costs by up to 25%.

By packaging efficiently, you can not only cut costs and time, but you can show you care about your environmental impact and improve your brand reputation and stakeholder relations. So, by planning for the PPT, you can prepare to succeed, with choices that will benefit your whole organisation.

To help you prepare for what the tax will mean for you and how you can benefit, we have created a free eGuide: Is your business prepared for this new taxation?

Download our Plastic Packaging Tax eGuide here

Or get in touch with us using the form below and let’s chat about how Acopia can help you make the best sustainable packaging and process choices that are right for your individual business.

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It all sounds a bit too good to be true doesn’t it? A new take on what most would see as packaging’s most maligned material – plastic machine pallet wrap. Huge amounts of it are used across the globe every day and we estimate that the UK alone uses over 150,000 tons of pallet wrap every year. It’s hard to imagine what that kind of volume looks like.  And how a product like this could possibly deliver sustainability on any level!

Pallet wrap has been with us one way or another for over 100 years.  As with anything, machine pallet wrap has been subject to development and has continued to evolve to where we are today. But where is that actually? Well, we’re at a stage where some of the pallet wrap being used today is a whole lot smarter, delivering real environmental as well as cost benefits. How’s that? Let’s find out!

Firstly, how can machine pallet wrap be eco-friendly?

Its eco-credentials go hand in hand with its cost-saving properties and it certainly isn’t for commonplace for pallet wrap to achieve these kinds of benefits. iWrap is a high-performance intelligent machine pallet wrap and truly a best in class product. The single-use plastic savings are unparalleled compared to any other pallet wrap on the market today. It’s these plastic savings that have really spoken volumes to brands such as IKEA, Waitrose and ASDA that are committed to reducing the amount of plastic they are using iWrap.

One client we are working with has seen game-changing benefits with 42.13% less plastic going to landfill as well as a reduction of  2,467.2 kgs of cardboard used each year. The graphic below shows everything iWrap was able to deliver for them.

Savings achieved with eco-friendly machine pallet wrap

Savings achieved with eco-friendly machine pallet wrap

 

All this from a simple product change!

Who would have thought this huge reduction in environmental impact could be delivered by a machine pallet wrap! With the Plastic Packaging Tax very much just around the corner now starting in April 2022, it’s important businesses realise and understand the scale of the issue and how this can and will affect them. With a levy of £200 per tonne on all plastic packaging, large users and going to be subject to a hefty tax bill.

The answer has to be to use less plastic. It makes sense financially as well as environmentally. There is also the possibility of exemption if a user can get their plastic packaging consumption to under 10 tonnes. We estimate that if you’re wrapping over 400 pallets a day using a 23-micron machine pallet wrap, you’ll be consuming 23 tonnes of waste plastic a year wrapping your pallets. 

So how could you bring that plastic usage down by over half to under just 10 tonnes? Using iWrap will deliver this staggering plastic reduction whilst still maintaining the same pallet stability, consistent pallet wrapping and damage-free deliveries to your customers – just as you have now, and in most cases better, with the much thicker 23-micron film.  And imagine how delighted your customers will be when receiving pallets from you with that kind of reduction of plastic on your deliveries! You get to deliver a cost-saving to them too!

On average, we see a reduction of 40% or more on the plastic used with iWrap

The video below shows the kind of plastic savings that can be achieved.

So what cost savings can machine pallet wrap deliver?

We saw in the graphic above an example of the types of savings gained from one of our customers using iWrap. Let’s look a little closer at these figures. Of course, the impressive one is the huge saving on the cost of the film alone at £36,120. That’s a staggering amount that any company would be overjoyed to save on their machine pallet wrap spend. The other cost savings are equally important and who wouldn’t appreciate gaining over a week back in time every year?! Imagine the impact of that in a busy warehouse – a 53 week year for the price of 52! Time savings and being able to free up resource is valuable for every business.

On average, we see a reduction of 25% on spend and in reality usually a lot more than this

The savings we have looked at here, combined with the ability to bring your machine pallet wrap usage to under 10 tonnes, avoiding the packaging tax are significant. Also, very large users can reduce their tax liability and end up paying a vastly reduced amount instead.

We did say it sounded too good to be true, didn’t we!

The easy way to understand the plastic and cost reductions for your own business is to get in touch with us for a plastic audit. It’s completely free and is a no-obligation meeting where we come to see your set-up and demo iWrap on your own pallet wrap machine.  You can see for yourself what this high-performance stretch wrap could deliver for your business. We’re always excited to have the opportunity to run these demos,  discovering savings for businesses nationwide. Our clients are pretty excited to see the results too!

So if this all sounds valuable to you, and if your company is committed to reducing environmental impact whilst looking at ways to cut costs – why not get in touch using the form below.

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Taking time to think about the best protective packaging for your products is certainly worth the investment, but not overly exciting! Whether it’s for your own e-commerce operation or you’re fulfilling and despatching products for a customer – protective packaging can make a difference. It can improve on packing time, reduce breakages and returns as well as cost. Eco-friendly or more sustainable solutions may also be on your wish list. So out of the array of solutions on the market, have you considered Air Pillow film?

Perhaps you’ve been put off in the past because it looks like it might be a bit complicated or difficult to use. You might have thought it required specialist expensive machinery to get it up and running?  So let’s see how it stacks up against void-fill and protective packaging alternatives.

Firstly, how does Air Pillow film work?

Air Pillow film works with Air Pillow machines to create sealed air ‘pillows’ or ‘cushions’.  It comes as a roll of flat plastic perforated at specific intervals. This makes it easy to tear off exactly what you need.  One edge of the film is attached to the Air Pillow machine and air is blown into the film and the side sealed creating a tough bubble of air.  Essentially the bubble is 99% air and only 1% plastic!  You’re effectively packing with air!

You can even control the amount of air that inflates the bubbles according to how fragile your products are. You’re also in charge of how fast the machine runs.  If you have lots of parcels requiring similar levels of cushioning, you can set it up and run it quickly ‘go ready for packing’. Alternatively, if you want smaller amounts or the levels of cushioning are different or complex, slowing down the speed gives you greater flexibility and reduces waste.

How much do Air Pillow machines cost?

There are 3 machines available, of which two can be rented and one bought outright.  The Airtech Meteor machine (pictured) is the entry-level machine in the range and can be bought for around £900. Another bonus is that it comes with 2 free rolls of film.

The Air Pillow Meteor Machine

Bench top, post room and workstation friendly – the Airtech Meteor Air Pillow Machine

All other machines are available to rent, costing £35 per month per machine.  However, if you have a contract of 3 rolls or more of film per month there is no rental charge for the machine.

Servicing and spare parts are also free of charge if you’re renting. An engineer would be available to fix your machine should anything not be working correctly. That’s great peace of mind to know that should you have any issues, you won’t be left on your own. Spare and replacement parts can also be posted out to you.

How much does Air Pillow film cost?

There are 4 different types of Air Pillow film – recycled, bio, degradable and ESD (Electrostatic dissipating)

The cost of the rolls does depend on the quantity you require, the width (200-700 mm wide) and whether you want them printed with your branding.

As an average cost, a standard 200 mm wide roll of film with 120 mm perforation lengths would be £75-£95.

Degradable film would be quite a lot more expensive, with a minimum order quantity of 65 rolls at a time.  The film has a shelf life of 6 months so it’s definitely a solution for high packaging volume users!

Air Pillow film vs bubble wrap – costs, storage, plastic usage and other features

There are a couple of factors to think about when comparing air pillow to bubble wrap, which include:

Cost

Taking the standard 200 mm roll with 120 mm perforations as an example, 1 roll of this would equate to 18 bundles of 1500 mm bubble wrap.

Bubble wrap has a high cubit volume meaning couriers find it a challenge to deliver and this reflects in the cost.

On average one bundle of bubble wrap would cost £15-£25, so buying air pillow film would save on average £250 per roll when used as a void-fill.

Storage

Storing bubble wrap is similar to making up flat pack boxes and trying to store them that way; it takes up a lot of room but is easy to use when you need it.

The benefit of Air Pillow film is that the rolls are roughly 9” diameter and 200-400 mm depending on the width of the roll.  Compared to 18 rolls of 1500 mm high bubble wrap, the storage space air pillow film rolls take is hardly comparable!

Plastic usage

Depending on the environment qualities of your Air Pillow film or bubble, Air Pillow film is generally a better option to reduce your plastic usage.

Air Pillow films are mostly air (actually 99 %), so compared to bubble wrap there is a lot less plastic compared to air.  The pillows are also about 10x thicker than bubble wrap.

Other benefits include

Durability

As well as the plastic usage, air pillows are very tough and not easy to pop compared to bubble (who hasn’t enjoyed popping bubble wrap in their lifetime 😊).  This is due to the seal on the pillow, the thick construction of the plastic and pressure setting.

Reliability

Air Pillow film machines provide a consistent film quality produced to match your usage. It takes longer to use a roll and as it’s easier to store so you shouldn’t run out too quickly.

Diversity

There’s an air cushion type for every application, and it can also be used as a void fill. Bubble wrap isn’t really economical as void filling.

Professional

Air Pillow film looks professional and can be used with high-quality goods.  It can also be printed with your logo to make the un-boxing experience even better for customers and end users!

Air Pillow film vs Loosefill chips – costs, storage, benefits and more

As a void fill, Loosefill chips are very flexible and easy to use.

Are you currently using void fill as well as another option for protective wrapping like bubble wrap?  In case you didn’t know, Air pillow film can actually be used as both which in turn can simplify your processes.

So let’s look at the comparison between Air Pillow film and Loosefill

Costs

Taking the standard 200 mm roll with 120 mm perforations as an example, 1 roll of this does the job of roughly 12-14 bags of Loosefill

Couriers find Loosefill a challenge to deliver. This is because it has a high cubit volume and weighs very little. Delivery costs of Loosefill can vary vastly.  If we take an average cost of £12 for 13 bags of Loosefill it would cost £156. Using Air Pillow film would save you on average £70- per roll!  (And more if you’re currently using it as a protective packaging as well as Loosefill)

Storage

To be honest, Loosefill is a bit like bubble wrap. It’s a bit of a headache to store as each bag is 15 cubic feet.  You can pile them up, but this is not the sort of thing you can keep in any normal sized cupboard!

The benefit of Air Pillow film is that each roll is roughly 9” wide and 200-400mm (depending on the width of your rolls).  It’s possible to fit quite a few rolls of Air Pillow in the same area that you would store just 1 bag of Loosefill!

Plastic usage and environmental factors

The beauty about Air Pillow is that not only is it made from 50% recyclable plastic, it is also recyclable by the end user. These qualities really make it a protective packaging and void product of choice.

The Loosefill options stack up like this. Biofil is 100% biodegradable, conforming to EN-13432 standard. It is a natural product made from plant starch whereas Fastfil is made from 100% recycled product and is CFC free, however it will end up in landfill.

When it comes to reuse, both Air Pillow and Fastfil Loosefill can be used repeatedly. Although the Biofil is greener, we wouldn’t advise re-using Biofil as this tends to crush on repeated use with heavy items.

Flexible – when it comes to use, there are pros and cons for both. Loosefill is very simple to use and that’s why it is a popular choice. It packs quickly around products and is perfect for providing protection for irregular shapes and absorbing shock. It certainly fills narrow gaps better that than Air Pillow however, it doesn’t quite protect delicate and vulnerable corners like Air Pillow can.  Air Pillow can be used to create multiple layers of protection whilst being flexible enough to act a void fill as well as protective packaging.

So where does this leave us?

Time and money savings are important for every business. Devoting storage space for your own profitable products in your warehouse rather than vast volumes of void fill may be another reason to look at alternatives. It may also be the perfect time to move to some more sustainable packing solutions too.

And what you might have thought of as fiddly and expensive option may actually be the space, time and money saving solution you were after all along!

Want to try it out? Please get in touch below.

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Everyone in retail is facing the question of how to maintain and also grow retail revenue in these uncertain times. In particular, our Charity Retail customers are constantly looking for new ways to generate and conserve income streams to support the great work they do.

There are some really innovative ideas coming to light turning the challenges of the new retail environment into a positive and winning experience as well as a great shopping experience for customers.  We thought we’d share some ideas for you to build upon and find ways to grow in the new normal.

Growing footfall in the new normal

The first thought with the new Social Distancing guidelines is the lack of footfall into the stores.  But there are real positives to this!  Less customers means you can really concentrate on those customers. Don’t ‘oversell’ but just take an interest, and make them feel wanted and valued.  Remember pieces of information they share with you and  make sure you ask about it next time they visit. Done sensitively, customers will really value this interest.

Shift style shopping

Another way to give your customers a real “boutique” shopping time is to extend opening hours by an hour or two with a shift arrangement.  You could offer customers to ‘book’ a shopping time early or late.  This would enable those that are currently working to visit the high street in the evening. Remember, if you’re one of the only shops who offers a unique and flexible experience, they will remember you and are much more likely to return!

Shifting Talent

It may be an obvious statement, but could you manage with less staff on the shop floor? It’s not just a case of making redundancies, but rather shifting talent across multiple stores, or even into a different area of the business whose capacity is stretched.  Why not ask your staff if there is another area in the business that they’ve always fancied joining, you may never know what will come out of the woodwork

Rewarding Retail

Your regular customers are the ones who will shout about your brand on social media and share positive vibes about the work you’re doing.  Reward them well and what better way to do this by offering VIP incentives?  These could be something like offering 3 for 2 or 10% off over £XX spend.  You could offer them the incentive with the condition that they visit at a ‘quiet time’ :)

Inspiring window displays

Make your customers want to step through your doors by improving your visual merchandising in your window displays!  It would be great to make your windows relevant to today’s world, so think Rainbows, NHS support, and share inspirational messages of hope!

Vertical Merchandising

Encourage link sales by utilising vertical merchandising!  Why not place colour coordinating shoes on top of your gondolas, or have floor to ceiling displays of items like cushions, throws & linen, or cutlery, tea cups & serve ware?  If they are looking for that item that will finish their collection, it’s likely they may be tempted to buy more than one!

Christmas comes early

RSPCA Christmas Window Display

RSPCA Christmas Window Display, one of our winners from our 2019 Charity Window Competition

Why not encourage customers to do a bit of early Christmas shopping now, while the shops are quiet?  You could play on the fact that there will be greater choice, and they won’t suffer from inflated pricing, especially during this economic hardship.  It will also help them to spread the costs across months instead of major outlay during the last few months of the year.

The pavement is your playground

Could you (space permitting) play with some creative ideas on the area outside your shop?  Think A frames, chalkboards, pavement signs, or maybe some stickers to draw the eye to your store front?  The pavement is your playground.  Make it an extension of your visual merchandising display! And a safe place for social distancing too!

Remember to make the most of free resources too to get hints and tips on how to create exciting displays  that are topical or on trend. Check out these visual merchandising guides you can find here.

Hopefully this has planted some seeds of imagination which you can adapt & use in your particular circumstances. Put one or two of these into practice & you will almost certainly find that your average transaction value will increase to offset the reduction in customer density.

And best of luck with the new normal!

Get in touch to find out more

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There is so much confusion in industry and with consumers alike around the issues of plastics and which solutions provide real benefits to the environment. What are the different industry processes that make ‘greener’ products and are these processes in themselves doing more harm than good? A plastic bag that is bio-degradable sounds like it would be a positive thing for the planet – but in truth, is it? We take a look at some of the myths around eco-friendly products and find out what’s actually good for the environment.

Bio-degradable and what it leaves behind

The idea behind its origins is born out of great intentions. Who wouldn’t want to claim a waste or by product can be completely decomposed by bacteria or living organisms to avoid pollution? This may well be the false impression that some consumers are basing their buying choices on.  The truth is plastic can not bio-degrade in this way. It does break down, that is completely true – but what remains is devastating not only for the environment, but for our own heath too. When plastic breaks down like this, it leaves behind harmful micro-particles that find their way into water ways, the sea, the food we eat and the air we breathe. It is estimated that we eat 50,000 particles of micro-plastics a year and breathe in a similar quantity.* To put it into some kind of context – it is estimated we are consuming a credit card size amount of plastic every week. 75% of the plastic we have produced still exists. There has to a better way.

Is compostable the answer?

Compostable bag

Compostable bag

This is a product made from potato or corn starch and will breakdown entirely. The difference is that compostable bags and compostable plastic alternatives can be added to home composting and this will decompose as it is made from organic matter. In fact, it becomes a nutrient rich compost. So this sounds like amazing news, but here are some negatives. Not all items that are ‘compostable’ can be thrown on the home compost heap. Many can only be processed at an industrial facility – how many consumers realise this or have access to one? Brands need to be really clear about what they are claiming. If a consumer feels hoodwinked into thinking they are playing their part in reducing plastic safely, they will be unforgiving if this turns out not to be the case.

More consumers are starting to take the time to understand the differences in what these terms actually mean and are demanding more from manufactures, brands and local facilities. If you’re feeling the inevitable pressure in looking to change to respected eco alternatives, we can help you make informed decisions about the materials and plastics you use.

 

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* Health effects of ingesting microplastics – The Guardian