Tote containers (‘totes’) are commonly used as a cost-effective way to transport or store bulk products and materials. Many totes, or intermediate bulk containers (IBC), are made with rigid metal or polyethylene plastic caged within steel tubing. However, collapsible totes are an alternative style of tote gaining traction as a more efficient, eco-conscious solution. This article will explore how they can provide several sustainable advantages compared to traditional IBC containers, including space & cost savings, waste reduction, and enhanced safety.
- Space & cost savings: Collapsible totes can fold to one-quarter of a traditional IBC, minimizing empty tote storage requirements. This 4:1 folding ratio saves more than two-thirds of storage and transportation space, effectively reducing return logistics costs by up to 75%. Collapsible totes can stack up to five high when fully loaded for additional space savings. Empty totes can stack up to 17 high while folded. A 53-foot trailer can fit up to 224 collapsed totes.
- Waste reduction: A disposable bladder within the collapsible tote can help minimize concern surrounding liquid residue that could be hazardous. Compared to traditional IBC totes, the liquid is more efficiently evacuated through use of a winder, thereby reducing residual waste and leading to added cost savings. A bladder compacts after use for even more space savings.
- Enhanced safety: Other benefits of using collapsible totes can include improved safety features. The totes are typically equipped with anti-slip rubber bases, preventing any slipping during transport. They also have 4-way fork access and omnidirectional compatibility for efficient and safe positioning. When fully loaded, collapsible totes will not bulge. All doors fold inward and nest into each other, eliminating the possibility of a failure. If a tote should get damaged by a forklift or in transport, the doors, locks and handles can all be replaced.
Avient’s CORE™ Vinyl Plastisols have been shipped in new collapsible totes for some time, and have been well received by customers. The liner used in the totes is a U.S. FDA food-grade linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE). It comes with a full-flow valve in place with a retained gasket system that can increase flow rates.
Collapsible totes are another example of improvements that are making a difference in enabling sustainability and product efficiency in shipping and warehousing.