Working towards a circular packaging chain
Cradle-to-Cradle (c2c) and circular construction are now becoming increasingly more important in construction, also where installation techniques, windows, doors and facades are concerned. BUVA would like to contribute to this. Not just with its Sustainable homecare system, where sustainably produced heat, healthy indoor air and securely closed windows and doors are our main priorities, but also by constantly analysing and optimising our logistical processes and packaging. Focussed on the environment, sustainability and optimal workability and in close consultation with its customers.
“We took our time - together with our customers - to investigate what we could do for each other in the field of lean working during the banking crisis and during the subsequent construction crisis. Looking back, these appeared to be our first steps towards corporate social responsibility and circular packaging”, according to Raf Salis, Head of Production and Logistics at BUVA. “We launched our BUVA LogiTime concept in 2014, where products are supplied just-in-time and per work order in carefully numbered mobile deposit carts, which can be directly inserted into the customer’s production line. All of our products are already unpacked and pre-sorted in these carts, helping customers to save on valuable product picking time and minimising waste flows. In addition, the products supplied by BUVA no longer need to be unpacked and repacked.”
Efficient transport and collection of carts and crates
The tilt and turn fittings are invariably delivered in plastic crates, which until recently were repackaged by BUVA”, according to Salis. “However, nowadays these products are also put on a cart. A deposit is charged for the crates, which means these are also neatly returned to us. To avoid transporting air when retrieving the roller carts, we have selected carts which are very easy to disassemble. This allows for twenty folded carts to be transported instead of one roller cart. We have also developed a cantilever cart for our long products, which can also be easily folded and taken back responsibly.”
A phased transition to sustainable, recyclable alternatives
“The introduction of circular packaging has radically changed our logistics department’s way of thinking and approach, Salis emphasises. “We have spent the last few years looking for optimal circular packaging materials, as well as efficient and damage-free transport. We have looked into the following in order to realise this: what level of protection does every item of packaging need to have? Which additions are required, in order to realise optimal processing and communication with the recipient? Which packaging appearance do we find important? Are the products still manageable in the logistics chain after the adjustments? And can the repacking and unpacking be done quickly and efficiently on location? We have adapted our packaging over the past five years, based on these questions. We have increasingly scaled down our plastic packaging and replaced it with sustainable, recyclable alternatives, such as deposit carts and packaging using paper, cardboard or wood. Where bundling products used to be done using plastic, we now use paper with a special adhesive edge. We will soon also be introducing our own BUVA folding crates, which can be folded on one side. This means the crates now also perfectly fit on our roller carts.”
BUVA will use plastics in a transparent colour, without printing and made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE-4), which is safe and excellent for recycling, for any situations for which no sustainable alternatives are available as yet, for example sealing pallets.
BUVA is currently looking into the possibilities for replacing all filling materials. “We are also in talks with suppliers, as they can also start (gradually) phasing out their plastic packaging”, according to Salis. “Customers are incredibly enthusiastic about our approach. The majority of our customers have now moved across to the new packaging methods. The LogiTime concept has even resulted in several new customers!”