Office Depot reduces packaging waste

GreenerOffice delivery service implements reusable plastic containers
By Modern Materials Handling Staff
April 04, 2012 - MMH Editorial

Office Depot, headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla., is a leading global provider of office supplies and services that help customers save time. Founded in 1986, Office Depot offers a broad selection of nationally branded and private-brand office products including general office and computer supplies, business machines, furniture and services including copy and print, shipping and technology support. 

Today, Office Depot has 1,677 worldwide retail stores and sells to consumers in 60 countries.  But even with a global reach, the company is conscious of its impact on the environment and pursues environmental leadership by reducing its own carbon footprint and providing its customers with eco-conscious office products that drive business improvements.  So, in an effort to supports its environmental strategy of “Buy Green, Be Green, Sell Green,” Office Depot launched the GreenerOffice Delivery Service to corporate business customers.

Prior to the implementing the service, Office Depot used corrugated boxes with plastic air pillows to ship office supplies.  Now, through the GreenerOffice Delivery Service, it ships up to 20 pounds of office supplies in paper bags made of 40% post-consumer recycled content. To protect the contents of the paper bags, Office Depot required a hand-held shipping container, or tote, that could be used throughout its delivery process, from picking products in the warehouse to delivering products desk-side.

Office Depot worked with a supplier (ORBIS Corporation, to identify a reusable plastic container solution in which bags could be safely and efficiently transported to customers. They selected a nestable tote with an attached lid that is made from 60% post-consumer recycled plastic. These totes are dimensionally consistent and offer repeatable performance on Office Depot’s conveying system, in its trucks and on delivery carts.

The reusable totes are set on Office Depot’s conveyors with the paper bag inside. Office supplies are placed into the bag, the bags are sealed and the tote is closed to protect the products for shipping. Once the totes reach their destination, the bags are removed and given to the customer. The totes are then taken back to the truck to be returned to Office Depot to be used for another shipment.

The new, greener program offers convenience to customers with no boxes to open, no air pillows or other packaging material to dispose of, and no corrugated boxes to break down and discard. Office Depot originally piloted the GreenerOffice program in 2010, and based on the 96% adoption rate, pursued nationwide implementation in 2011.

With GreenerOffice deliveries available across the United States, Office Depot expects to replace 5 million boxes with 5 million bags, which will save more than 3,000 tons of wood, equivalent to more than 20,000 trees; improve its warehouse and distribution efficiency; and help prevent product damage during delivery.

Office Depot: Flexible automation
Mobile robotics is powering Office Depot’s new demand-driven distribution center.

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