At Greif we seek to improve our overall environmental performance through innovation in the design and development of our products. Across the company we conduct research and testing to develop products that require fewer natural resources to construct, use more sustainable materials, and are easier to recycle.
We utilize methods and processes, such as the use of recycled materials and dematerialization to help us move closer to develop more sustainable products that have a reduced negative impact on the environment while maintaining Greif’s commitment to only produce products of the highest quality.
We use life cycle assessment (LCA) to better understand the environmental aspects and impacts of our products and solutions.
NexDRUM®, is one of our most popular products, which is produced with 15% less material than the standard blow molded plastic drum produced at Greif. The new drum design was created through an innovative injection and welding production process that works with less material inputs, without negatively affecting the performance and stability of the drum.
LCA is a technique that evaluates the environmental impact of products over their entire lifetime including raw material extraction, manufacturing, transportation, distribution, use and disposal or recycling. This information helps us understand the overall environmental profile of our existing products, where and how our impacts occur, target improvements in materials and products, and to prioritize for analysis and action those processes, components, and materials that have the greatest environmental impact.
We began using LCA to evaluate our entire product portfolio in mid 2000s. By doing so, we were able to assess our products’ overall environmental impact. With this holistic insight, we could identify steps in the cycle where a sustainable improvement can have the most positive impact. One lesson we learned from our analyses, for instance, was that the environmental performance of most industrial packaging types is strongly linked to their material mass. Accordingly, using more lightweight products can contribute to lower emissions and environmental impact in supply chains. This insight led to the development of the NexDRUM®.
For more information about our LCA studies, please see:
Dematerialization is the process of making the same quality product using less material. It can be achieved by using existing materials more efficiently, by substituting with alternative materials, or by developing new processes that enables you to use less materials.
Dematerializing not only allows you to save on materials costs, but it can also reduce raw material extraction, energy use, emissions, transportation costs and waste.
We look to use fewer materials wherever possible and have implemented several successful dematerialization efforts:
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