Re-use Efficiency Packaging with Analytics for Customized Knowledge (REPACK)

Funding Year: 2020-2022

One of the major sustainability challenges present today is the waste that accompanies packaging, usually corrugated cardboard, from the increased prevalence of online purchasing. However, since the average corrugate box contains only 50% recycled materials, half of the fiber must still be produced anew each time a package is shipped. Moreover, online ordering leads to smaller, more frequent “one off” orders which requires more packaging compared to the bulk orders that are sent to big-box, brick-and-mortar stores and then resold. Given these factors, reusing packaging materials is more efficient than recycling. This project will explore the development of a label designed to track reused packaging, investigate means to drive supply chain adoption, and explore how branding affects community participation, thus improving the sustainability of the growing e-commerce industry.

Principal Investigators:

  • Steven Simske, Department of Systems Engineering
  • John Macdonald, Department of Management
  • Elizabeth Parks, Department of Communications Studies and Dialogue and Diversity Specialist with the Center for Public Deliberation