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Home Retail Group introduce innovative packaging

Home Retail Group has introduced an innovative packaging system for upholstered furniture – the reusable sofa bag.


Home Retail Group introduce innovative packaging

Home Retail Group has introduced an innovative packaging system for upholstered furniture – the reusable sofa bag.

Home Retail Group’s sofa bag is a replacement for traditional sofa packaging and is introduced at the point of manufacture before items are containerised for delivery to the UK. The enhanced packaging will not incur any additional delivery cost to the customer.

Maria Thompson, commercial director, Home Retail Group said: “The sofa bag has been developed by Home Retail Group and it represents the culmination of several years’ testing and trial.   We believe that there are clear benefits for the environment, the business and our customers by making use of reusable and recyclable packaging and from reducing the amount of packaging associated with the products we sell. It demonstrates our continued commitment to the reduction of waste going to landfill.”

In the UK, there is over 5 million items of upholstered furniture purchased each year1 and, until now, substantial amounts of packaging have been required to ensure upholstered furniture is delivered in good condition. Traditionally these items are packaged using a combination of plastic sheeting and corrugated cardboard. Inadequate packaging may result in under-protected goods during transit, leading to poor customer satisfaction, increased level of returns and damaged goods which are then discarded as waste, with a cost to the business and the environment.

Once delivered, customers are responsible for disposal of the packaging, usually to landfill. Figures suggest that 15,000 tonnes of packaging waste2 from upholstered furniture is disposed of every year.

The initial concept was developed several years ago and piloted with funding from WRAP (Waste & Resource Action Programme) with the main trial taking place over the last eighteen months.

Mike Robey, Retail Programme Manager – Home Improvement, at WRAP said:  “We’re delighted that the trial findings have been taken on board with this launch so that the benefits of reusable packaging can be realised on a substantial scale.  Our experience of reusable packaging indicates that the benefits are three-fold; greater convenience for the customer, cost-savings for the retailer and environmental benefits from using resources more efficiently, reducing packaging and the risk of product damage.   

“Home Retail Group is a founding member of WRAP’s Home Improvement Sector Commitment which aims to reduce packaging and waste to landfill.  Reusable packaging represents one of the biggest opportunities to reach the ambitious targets set out in that agreement as illustrated by this launch.”

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