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Choose to reuse.

If you had a choice between a new or used car, which would you choose? You'd probably pick the new one, right? Same goes for furniture, appliances, clothes.

But new isn't always better. Sometimes used makes more sense. Take, for instance, reusable containers for shipping, handling and even storing repairables. They offer some clear benefits over disposable, single-use containers.

The Bottom Line

The main advantage is that reusable containers save you money. They're made to use over and over again, unlike boxes you use once and throw away. During their lifetime, they more than pay for themselves. They also reduce the costs of disposal or recycling associated with ordinary cardboard boxes.

Reusable containers have still more advantages:

* They're sturdy and offer excellent protection for high-dollar repairable items.

* They're made to support the weight of their contents, which means safer handling.

* Their design makes for easier stacking and saves storage space.

* They're faster to pack and unpack.

Packaging Principles

No matter how good the packing materials, items run the risk of damage during shipment. But you can lower the odds of damage by following these basic principles when you pack:

* Dirt, mud and moisture cause corrosion. St) clean and dry the item. Use forced air to blow oft" the loose stuff. Clean with steam rather than high pressure water. Steam dries faster. Just remember to seal all the openings with tape before cleaning. You can also brush or wipe off the container.

* Drain items containing oils or fluids. Then tape openings to prevent leaks. Use approved container for the fluids.

* Apply preservatives, grease or wraps on bare metal surfaces. Corrosion preventive compound works well for this purpose. Get a 1-gal can with NSN 8030-00-244-1297 or a 5-gal can with NSN 8030-00-244-1298. Use grease/waterproof barrier material to wrap items covered by the compound. Get a 36-in X 200-yd roll with NSN 8135-00-282-0565.

* Tape exposed surfaces--like splines and threads--for protection.

* Wrap and cushion items in bubble wrap it the container doesn't have cushioning built in..

Always use the same container that came with the item or its replacement. An item's reusable continer is usually identified in FED LOG. Just enter the item's NSN or part number and click on the packaging icon.

* Avoid damage and injury by making sure the item fits snugly inside the container. Some reusable containers come with mounts, strapping, bungee cords or fasteners. Use them to secure the item.

* If the reusable metal container has packing instructions inside the lid, follow them when shipping items.

* Drain any fluids from the bottom of containers.

* To prevent water seeping into a container, make sure all its gaskets, seals and bolts are in place.

* When taping Fast Packs, use waterproof, filament-reinforced tape for packages weighing more than 20 pounds. NSN 7510-00-159-4450 gets you a roll. For packages lighter than 20 pounds, use NSN 7510-00-266-6715 to get a roll of waterproof, transparent packing tape.

A Container for Every Occasion

Reusable containers come in man5 sizes, shapes and types in the Army:

* Wooden boxes and crates

* Fiberglass and metal cans and drums

* Plastic, fiberglass, and metal containers and cases

* Cushioned, fiberboard Fast Pack containers

Wrapping Up

* Assemble components when possible. Label loose parts to help with reassembly.

* Label the container so you can clearly identify what's inside. Get rid of old markings, tags, part numbers and NSNs.

* When unpacking a metal container, keep its parts together so you don't lose them. That includes the cover, gasket, locking rings, hardware and accessories.

If you're unsure about which container to use, contact the source of supply packaging manager. Go to:

Click on Directory, then click on Packaging Points of Contact. You'll need a login ID and password. Get them by completing a System Access Request (SAR). You'll find a link to SAR right under the Packaging Points of Contact link.
COPYRIGHT 2004 PS Magazine
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Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Shipping Materials ...; reusable containers
Publication:PS, the Preventive Maintenance Monthly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2004
Previous Article:New zinc-air gives you a choice.
Next Article:Flash! Filters available.

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