Eliminating Single-Use Packaging

The Problem

Single-use packaging is a standard concept in supply chains. It’s supposed to protect products from damage during transport but freight damage is still a major economic expense, not to mention the environmental expense. We had EARTH University in Costa Rica conduct a study for us to determine how big an expense this really is because their whole cirriculum is based on banana cultivation and bananas are as vulnerable to damage as any product that requires protection during shipping. The following numbers are the result of their study and bear in mind that this is for bananas only and in Costa Rica only. The Cargo Carousel System (CCS) is the name of a completely new initiative that we are developing and it applies to all supply chains.

The Solution

Our company is called Circular Supply Chains Inc. (CSCI) and our mission is to eliminate single-use packaging, empty backhauls and partial loads in supply chains. The CCS is a patented supply chain “system” that is technologically advanced, dramatically more efficient, environmentally superior, socially more responsible to those who work within it and adheres to the principles of a Circular Economy. First we’ll explain the functionality of the CCS itself and then we’ll describe the complementary technologies that, when combined with the CCS, will provide a sustainable solution to eliminate single-use packaging, empty backhauls and partial loads in supply chains while providing an equitable benefit for everyone involved.

The CCS is a framework that supports a carousel like the one above. Each of the suspended platforms in the animated video replaces the wooden pallets that are currently being used in today’s supply chains. These platforms are then encased within a sturdy four-foot cubic box to create individual “modules” that protect contents far better than plastic wrap with the platforms acting as the base to support the lifting of the suspended modules by forklifts (fig.10). Each module can be removed from the Carousel to free up space for another module. The Carousel itself is a standardized design to ensure it can handle any and all modules but the modules themselves can be custom built to suit any purpose. Two Carousels are fitted side-by-side, each within its’ own framework as shown in figures 4 and 5 and the combined system slides into a standard intermodal steel shipping container (seacan) or trailer.

The Banana Module is encased in heavy gauge wire-welded aluminum mesh to improve air flow for temperature control and an even flow of ethylene gas to ensure controlled uniform ripening. It is designed as a rack to suspend bananas (top example) or to support risers (bottom example) and the module can be divided into smaller racks for easier handling. Both of these designs minimize costly labor touch points at the retailers because they can both be used as display fixtures. By swapping out entire fixtures of dated fruit for fresh fruit simultaneously and using the same module for supply and return, dated fruit can be sent on to soup kitchens or recycled as bio-fuels without the need for further labor or separate trips for supply and return.

The Next Steps

The cost savings from the CCS is substantial and has the potential to undercut current landed costs dramatically. When the environmental benefits of the CCS are added to the equation we begin to value the carbon credits that this system can provide. This may give us the leverage necessary to change the status quo and insert our own form of intelligent processes into global supply chains as we level the environmental playing field for everyone. Federal funding from the Canadian government has already been secured to cover 75% of development costs and they require the balance of funding to come from an industry partner in cash or “in-kind” meaning the cash value equivalent of services or assets (i.e. trucks, software development, administration, hardware, etc.).

By convening partners to facilitate knowledge exchange, highlighting innovative investment approaches, building the evidence base for the industry, and producing valuable resources, CSCI seeks to accelerate this system’s development through focused leadership and collective action. Our strategy is not about just complying with what’s right – it’s about transformation. The CCS represents the platform upon which we can further research the capabilities of new leading edge technologies to advance this solution beyond supply chains alone. These technologies include Robotics, Internet of Things, Distributed Ledger Technology (Blockchain), Artificial Intelligence, Cloud/Edge Computing, Analytics, Physical Internet, ICT, etc.

We are advancing this project to prove that single-use packaging, empty backhauls and partial loads can actually be eliminated from supply chains by utilizing the Cargo Carousel System. It will require input from many different players, but among its ranks, this new enterprise will also showcase equality, inclusion and a selfless mindset as we move to develop multiple supply chains and demonstrate these capabilities on the world stage. This system is easily scaled across sectors and geographies but we need to verify its capabilities first and we have detailed plans available on just how to do that.

We all have a right to free choices and fair participation in the affairs of the planet and the global economy. If we want to correct the historical misgivings of humanity, be it social, economic or environmental, we need to radically alter our thinking to develop completely new solutions that will sustain us well into the future. We believe the Cargo Carousel System is one of those solutions.

Developing a platform for collaboration on the leading-edge technologies as they apply to supply chains and creating the team to make that happen is an underlying focus of this project with the development of a sustainable, long-term solution being the ultimate end goal. Collective action offers better results. Please feel free to contact us.