The Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) is pleased to announce two winners in the 2018 Excellence in Reusable Packaging award program: Anheuser-Busch InBev and DS Smith Plastics.

Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) won for its design and implementation of a comprehensive maintenance, reusable pallet and logistics system that significantly reduced waste, increased reusable packaging lifespan and reduced CO2 impact.

Investment in a preventative maintenance program for reusable kegs coupled with pallet redesign allowed AB InBev to consolidate heat-treatment and palletization of ready-to-use kegs at a single location (vs. two previously) and increase pallets per load by 33 percent. Brewery efficiency increased 8 percent, transportation of rejected/returned kegs was eliminated, finished goods transportation costs were reduced by 54 percent and CO2 impact decreased by 30 percent. This comprehensive approach not only improved environmental and business performance, it also extended the lifespan of the reusable packaging components used by Anheuser-Busch.

“As the world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev is constantly working toward the highest level of quality and service to our customers, while doing so in the most efficient and cost-conscious manner possible,” said Andrae Kirkland, who manages returnable packing materials for Anheuser-Busch InBev’s North American Zone. “This process change allowed us to more effectively manage a specific flow for our keg float and has impacted other areas of our supply chain as well. Innovative process implementations such as this will be key as we continue striving toward our 2025 Sustainability Goals. We are honored to be recognized by the Reusable Packaging Association for this initiative.”

DS Smith Plastics is being recognized for its collaboration with an automotive industry supplier to create a customized reusable transport packaging solution that reduced the cost and environmental impact of transporting components between manufacturing facilities and assembly sites while improving overall material handling and installation labor efficiency.

DS Smith helped its automotive supplier customer realize operational efficiencies and reduce environmental impact by designing a reusable transport packaging solution capable of accommodating multiple products while insuring product protection during transit, truck load optimization with both full and empty containers, easy and safe loading/unloading, compliance with local regulations, long useful life, end-of-life recyclability, and achievement of ROI hurdles. The DS Smith Plastics solution, the AkyPak 4You reusable sleeve pack, delivered on all design requirements. Implementation eliminated over 300 truck journeys and nearly 313,000 kg of CO2 annually, while improving labor ergonomics and efficiencies, material handling, and waste. The AkyPak 4You has a useful life of 7 years and is 100 percent recyclable when retired.

“We are pleased to receive this recognition from the Reusable Packaging Association, on behalf of one of our customers and our returnable packaging specialist team at DS Smith Plastics,” said John C. McCurdy, vice president of commercial development at DS Smith Plastics. “The returnable and sustainable solution that received this recognition is an example of how we work together with customers to bring a different perspective to their challenges and provide cost-effective solutions that protect the environment.”

“Participation in this annual award program continues to grow,” said Tim Debus, president & CEO of the RPA. “The innovation reflected in all the entries was outstanding and the field was very competitive. This year, two applications received the highest marks during the judging process, and we are pleased to announce that both Anheuser-Busch InBev and DS Smith Plastics have received the award for 2018.”

Anheuser-Busch InBev and DS Smith Plastics will present their award-winning entries at the RPA Reusable Packaging Learning Center (Upper Lakeside Center, E-6866) at PACK EXPO in McCormick Place, Chicago, IL at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018.