Environmentally Friendly Stone Packaging
November 1, 2008
M S International, Inc. is deeply committed to caring for the environment by actively conserving resources, preventing pollution and minimizing waste. One major component of our commitment to the environment is to reduce wood used in the packaging process.
Until approximately eight months ago, 98% of the natural stone tile we received was packed in crates. We estimated that if we were successful in converting from wood crates to palletization packaging of natural stone, we would be able to reduce wood usage by 70%, saving thousands of trees every year. In addition, moving to pallets has other benefits, including more square footage per pallet and also a more clean-looking product and lower packaging costs overall.
When we first took the idea to our suppliers, almost everyone resisted. The common response was that it would result in higher breakage, more labor and effectively more costs for the supplier. However, our calculation indicated otherwise, including the fact that the supplier would save approximately $10 per pallet (or over $200 per container) by switching from crates to pallets. Given this dynamic, we decided to force the issue and not accept crate packaging from any core suppliers.
Today, eight months later, approximately 60% of our tiles are now packaged in pallets. Suppliers have achieved the cost savings of approximately $200 per container. We have the internal goal of reaching 80% by year end and 95% by the end of next year.
Technical specifications include the following:
- The size of the pallet is typically 31 x 42 inches.
- There should be five horizontal bars at the bottom in order to facilitate even distribution of the material weight.
- The two long (42-inch) sides of the pallet must have grooves for the forklift, and the short (31-inch) side of the pallet also needs forklift grooves.
- Overall, the pallet needs to have four-way entry for convenient movement from any direction.
- Boxes in the center are placed vertically.
- Strong cardboard pieces should be used at the corners where the plastic strap touches the boxes.
- The plastic used for the shrink wrap should be thick plastic.
- Each pallet consists of 420 square feet, with five pieces per box and 84 boxes per crate. The boxes are made from cardboard.
These kinds of strong crates help in stacking four to five crates high, thus saving space in the warehouse. They can also be shipped long distances out of state without any problems.
Additionally, packaging of this type protects the material from getting damaged during transit. The pallets are well protected by the plastic shrink wrap, thereby protecting the material from all weather conditions and allowing them to be stored in an open warehouse.