The 7 R’s of Sustainable Packaging

Wal-Mart’s packaging score card and the “7 R’s of Sustainable Packaging” are widely references and have become a model for corporate packaging sustainability.

Wal-Mart’s “7 R’s of Packaging” , as outlined on the Wal-Mart website, are:

REMOVE: Eliminate unnecessary packaging, boxes or layers, and harmful materials.

REDUCE: “Right-size” packages, optimize material strength, and design packages appropriately for contents and merchandising requirements.

REUSE: Wal-Mart has a goal that all transport packaging will be reused or recycled by 2011 through improved pallets and reusable plastic containers (RPCs).

RENEW(ABLE): Use materials made of renewable resources as measured using ASTM D6866, or select biodegradable materials that meet ASTM D6400 or ASTM D6868.

RECYCLE(ABLE): Use materials made of the highest recycled content without compromising quality, including post-consumer recycled material (PCR) where appropriate. Components should be chosen based on recycle-ability post-use, with a goal of increasing the municipal recycling rate to 35 percent by 2011.

REVENUE: Achieve all principles at cost parity or cost savings, which requires a supply chain approach.

READ: Get educated on sustainability and how suppliers play a part. The Education Sub-Committee of the Packaging Sustainable

Value Network recommends the following curriculum for professionals to learn more about packaging design for sustainability:
− Sustainable Packaging
– New Thinking: The Sustainable Packaging Essentials Program
– More information at
− Packaging Fundamentals
– Fundamentals of Packaging
– More information at
− Damage reduction through Simulated Distribution Testing
– CPLP training
– More information at
− Sustainable Packaging Scorecard
– Training from ECRM and Thumbprint


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