Packaging and labeling companies can do everything right yet find themselves in a situation where they’re left scrambling.
Quick response is warranted when products or their packaging can no longer go to market. This is often unexpected, and the responsibility to safely discard these products may fall on the packaging company since it is in possession of these goods.
Certified product disposal is one of the most important services all packaging and labeling companies should have ready to deploy if quick, and most importantly safe, disposal is needed.
When Product Disposal Is Needed Quickly
Products can require quick disposal for a number of reasons. Packaging and labeling companies are often the final stop before products are dispersed to retail locations, and because many of these reasons occur in the 11th hour, packaging companies may be the ones left to deal with any issues.
Here are just a few scenarios that would warrant product disposal:
- There is a mistake in the product packaging. This could be a simple typo or a serious situation where a key ingredient is missing, putting those with allergies at risk.
- A product or company has new branding. Packaging and labeling companies may have extra packaging or labels their clients no longer want to be used for their products.
- Goods have been replaced. Companies are constantly improving their products, and if you have outdated products in your possession, your client will want you to dispose of them safely so they don’t make it to store shelves.
- Products from trial runs are no longer needed. Many packaging companies design customized packaging for their customers and may offer several examples or consumer trials as part of the process. Once branding is chosen, these samples are no longer needed.
- Products have expired or been recalled. If a packaging company discovers products in its possession that has expired, or if the company receives word that a product has been recalled for safety concerns, it must undergo secure product destruction.
- Products have been court-ordered to be destroyed. Time is of the essence to comply with court orders that stipulate the destruction of a product or its packaging. Often, these cases center around copyright laws.
Most recently, a case involving the German grocery store chain Lidl illustrates this last scenario above. Due to a trademark violation, a Swiss federal court ordered Lidl to destroy chocolate bunnies sold at the stores.
The case goes back to 2018 when Swiss chocolatier Lindt & Sprüngli filed a lawsuit stating that Lidl copied its golden-wrapped chocolate bunny candies. Originally, a commercial court dismissed the filing in 2021, but Lindt appealed, stating that Lidl’s chocolate bunnies matched the shape and features of Lindt’s chocolate bunnies. This made it difficult for consumers to distinguish between the two brands.
A federal court overseeing the appeal overturned the dismissal on the grounds that there was a risk of confusion between the two candies. Lidl could not sell the rabbit candies any longer and had to destroy any existing chocolate bunnies.
These copyright or trademark infringement cases are not unique. In the United States alone, there are thousands of intellectual property cases filed each year.
It’s important for packaging companies to be prepared for last-minute changes in production. Even if a Lidl-like situation doesn’t happen with one of your clients, it’s possible that any of the above scenarios could occur. The best way to prepare for these situations is to partner with a certified product disposal company that will safely and legally dispose of products or branded packaging.
Why Certified Product Disposal Is Needed
Why certified product disposal versus regular disposal? Certified product disposal protects your brand and your client's brands. Regular disposal, whether in a receptacle out back of your warehouse or at the landfill, does not.
Although companies have continued to invest in technology that prevents their cosmetic products, technology, food and more from ending up on the grey market, many continue to struggle with this form of deception that can reflect poorly on their reputation.
The Global Brand Counterfeiting Report estimates businesses lost $323 billion in 2017 due to online counterfeiting globally. Even when individuals and companies that sell on the grey market are not behaving illegally, consumers are not guaranteed the same quality or safety of a product they have grown accustomed to when purchasing the product directly from a retailer.
Other times, as in the case of the Lidl chocolate bunnies, product destruction is forced, and you must be able to provide proof that this process has occurred. Otherwise, you’ll pay substantial costs in fines.
A certified product disposal company will maintain tracking and security throughout the disposal process. This chain of custody typically includes:
- A specific plan for the items you wish to dispose of or destroy
- Photographic and video evidence of destruction
- 24/7 surveillance at any storage yard facilities where your product is awaiting destruction
- All appropriate paperwork and permits, especially is products are deemed hazardous
- A Certificate of Destruction form if provided to you for your records (here’s a Certificate of Destruction template that outlines what should be on your form)
A high-quality certified product disposal team can take advantage of a number of options to dispose of your products, from recycling to non-hazardous incineration and ingredient capture for reuse in other processes.
How To Evaluate A Certified Product Disposal Company
When evaluating certified product disposal companies to work with, make sure they are:
- Properly certified, licensed and bonded
- Experienced in the disposal of the type of product you have or its packaging
- Known for offering a detailed product disposal plan that is tailored to a company’s individual needs
- Open with you about how they take photos or videos of the destruction process and then share that process with you
The best-certified product destruction companies will also have the ability to check your products for any hazardous ingredients or components, as well as help you complete any manifest forms that are required for the disposal of products.
Partnering with secure product destruction companies is a critical component of business for any company in the packaging and labeling industry. This solution helps to ensure your business is protected and that you are serious about protecting the reputation of your clients.