The International Confederation of Container Reconditioners (ICCR) is a global organization representing private industrial container reconditioning companies. ICCR provides a coordinated effort on international regulatory, legislative and standards issues.
The International Confederation of Container Reconditioners was formed over thirty years ago to serve as the world-wide representative of the industrial container reconditioning industry. The group is governed by the three principal trade associations representing reconditioners in Europe, Japan and North America. In recent years, ICCR membership has expanded to include reconditioning companies operating in South Africa and China. ICCR participates as a non- governmental organization (NGO) at the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and is active in standards development issues sponsored by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
For the first time in its long history, the International Confederation of Container Reconditioners’ Board of Directors met virtually in December 2020. Participation in the meeting literally spanned the globe, with representatives taking part in Japan, several European nations, South Africa and North America.
The group discussed a broad spectrum of issues, including membership development, plans for the 17 th International Conference on Industrial Packaging (28 – 30 September 2022), global regulatory issues, and packaging sustainability.
ICCR members are focusing on creating greater awareness among policy makers of the environmental benefits associated with industrial packaging reuse and ways to limit the pre- mature scrapping of containers that can be reused.
The roots of the modern industrial container reconditioning industry can be traced back two thousand years to the first written accounts of the wooden barrel, which appeared in the bible. Like its modern descendants, steel and plastic drums, and intermediate bulk containers, the wooden barrel was designed for reuse. Coopers created new wooden barrels and also refurbished used barrels for continued use. Wooden barrels were, in a sense, the first example of a sustainable packaging.
The first steel drums were manufactured in the late 1800’s in Europe, and because of their versatility, rapidly emerged as the industrial container of choice throughout the world. Today, steel drums remain the most commonly produced industrial packaging, with several hundred million being sold annually. More recently, plastic drums and intermediate bulk containers have emerged to compete with the steel drum in certain markets.
After their first use, these containers are collected, refurbished by professional reconditioners, and sold for reuse. When a reconditioners determines that a container is no longer fit for purpose, it is cleaned and prepared for scrap.
Steel and plastic drums, as well as intermediate bulk containers are among the most sustainable packagings in use today. These containers can be reused over and over again after they have been reconditioned and safety tested. At the end of their useful life, cleaned industrial packagings are prepared for scrap; thereby, completing a perfect environmental “round-trip”, i.e. manufacture – use – reuse – recycle.
ICCR member companies recondition millions of industrial packagings every year, often saving more than 60% of the greenhouse gas emissions (CO₂E) associated with the manufacture of a new packaging of the same type.
Industrial packaging reuse saves more than carbon emissions; reuse also reduces harmful air pollution, reduces solid waste production and significantly limits the discharge of waste streams to water systems.
As businesses move away from the traditional “take, make and dispose” production model, towards a circular economy, they are looking for more efficient ways to save energy and conserve resources. Forward-looking businesses will see that promoting industrial packaging reuse is an easy, cost effective and environmentally beneficial way to reduce their carbon footprint.