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Walmart Pioneers Sustainable Packaging with Automated Solutions

Partnership with Knapp and Packsize yields significant reductions in waste and enhances consumer experience

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Walmart has teamed up with Knapp and Packsize to introduce an automated solution for optimizing the size of cartons used in its distribution centers. The technology aims to reduce cardboard waste and filler material by more than half. The software calculates the required carton size for each order, which is then produced by Packsize's machine. This process not only minimizes the number of cartons and filler material used but also lowers shipping costs, reduces personnel costs, and enhances the consumer experience. Currently, four Walmart distribution centers in the U.S. are using this technology, achieving a 26% reduction in cardboard waste and a 60% decrease in void-fill packaging use.

The initiative is part of Walmart's broader sustainability strategy, which also includes the use of recyclable paper mailers, transitioning to electric delivery vans, and giving consumers the option to opt out of single-use plastic bags. Knapp and Packsize are also expanding their technology to an international sports clothing retailer, estimating a 30% reduction in void fill and a significant decrease in packaging tape usage. The companies claim that this will result in an annual saving of 500 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Amazon, another retail giant, has expressed interest in rightsizing its packaging. According to a spokesperson, Amazon has already reduced the weight of its outbound packaging by 38% and removed over 15 million tons of packaging material since 2015. The company plans to use machine learning algorithms to further optimize packaging sizes for its e-commerce deliveries.

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