Blog Latest News demonstrates the cost benefits of returnable plastic boxes versus cardboard boxes

In support of European Supply Chain Day (today 21st April) – which Kevin Richardson, Chief Executive of the CILT expects to be the biggest and best event yet – has created an infographic to educate logistics professionals about the significant cost savings they can achieve by switching from using cardboard boxes to returnable plastic boxes.

Jim Hardisty, Managing Director of, said: “We decided to support European Supply Chain Day this year to help raise awareness of the logistics and supply chain profession, which in my opinion deserves a lot more recognition.

“Our infographic highlights how by switching from cardboard boxes to returnable plastic ones logistics professionals will not only have a more durable, long-life product they can use over and over again, but achieve a return on their investment within less than 12 months.

“Over a five year period, these cost savings can be as much as £316,920 when using plastic boxes instead of cardboard ones. Considering plastic boxes can be used up to 10 times longer and sometimes more, these savings could more than double!” demonstrates the cost benefits of returnable plastic boxes versus cardboard boxes

Goplasticpallets has already helped a number of businesses improve supply chain efficiencies by switching from cardboard boxes to returnable plastic boxes, and below is an example of a typical scenario.

A customer manufactures ready meals in their factory kitchen and warehousing facility; they pack a specific number of ready meals per cardboard box and palletise them for storage and distribution through their frozen store. The goods are picked in whole packs and sent using their own transport to shops and garden centre stores across the country. These stores receive deliveries multiple times a week depending on the time of year and how busy they are. The waste element of this supply chain is the cardboard outer boxes and the breaking down of smaller selling SKUs into new cardboard boxes for delivery to store.

The customer is sending out in excess of 1.1m outer cardboard cases, which are dispatched daily. The cardboard box costs on average £0.35p, so £385k per annum, with additional recycling costs at each store, as well as the cost for replacing damaged boxes.’s recommendation would be to introduce reusable folding containers by replacing the cardboard outer box with a plastic tray. As each store receives at least two deliveries a week, the distribution time would reduce to a maximum of five days. The tray being folding and ventilated means that they would have better airflow in the cold store and save space at both distribution centres, as well as the shop premises where space is a premium.

Based on this scenario, introducing returnable folding boxes could save the customer circa £150k in the first year with a potential five year saving of £1.2m. Other savings include, maximised vehicle fill, less time for assembling cardboard boxes, less damaged products and lower recycling costs.

Last year, over 38,500 participants visited more than 450 events in at least 20 different countries on European Supply Chain Day, and the CILT anticipates surpassing these numbers this year.

To arrange a meeting to discuss how we can help you make savings by switching from cardboard boxes to returnable plastic boxes, call us on 01323 744057 or email your enquiry to