The Friday Report: June 25th, 2021

Quick wrap up of a few hot topic newsworthy stories in the supply chain logistics industry

Wood Wields Power over Housing Starts and Renovation

As with numerous industries, the lumber industry experienced supply chain disruptions due to mill closures during COVID as well as a rampant escalation in demand for which the industry was not ready.  The lack of lumber began a chain reaction, postponing construction start dates.  This has led to a limited supply of housing in some markets, notable as this is the high season for sales.  The high cost of lumber has also impacted homeowners renovating their homes.

Lumber prices jumped up 30 percent from January through May of 2021, causing home and building prices to climb.  According to the U.S. Labor Department’s producer price index, lumber more than doubled in the one-year period from May 2020 to May 2021. 

To help combat this problem, the National Association of Home Builders reached out to both Congress and President Biden for relief from the tariffs previously placed on Canadian wood imported by the United States.

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Home Delivery Ramp Up Leads to Cardboard Shortage in the UK

Whether you realize it or not, cardboard boxes are made by recycling other cardboard boxes.  There has been a surge in ordering online for home delivery.  As it turns out, many consumers in the UK are holding onto their cardboard boxes rather than recycling them.  Between the lockdown last year and the popularity of home delivery, there is now a shortage of cardboard boxes nationwide. In addition, there also has been a shortage of wood pulp needed to make cardboard, impacting retailers.

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EPA Plans to Reduce Food Waste to Decrease Climate Emissions

Climate change is one of the American government’s notable priorities.  Rather than focusing on diverting waste, the EPA is now prioritizing food recovery, dealing with food products before they are pushed to landfills.  The strategy of focusing on prevention is one that has not been a priority previously.

The EPA held a panel discussion as part of the recent NYC Food Waste Fair.  Multiple panelists supported the idea of prioritizing food recovery, including examining the amount of food that is left behind in packaging. This information is expected to lead to more effective packaging design.   With the U.S. goal of cutting food loss and waste 50% by 2030, (started in 2015), the U.S. has aligned its goal with the international UN Sustainable Development Goal Target to encourage action and investment in retaining food in the human supply chain and preventing food waste.  This is a different approach to tackling the problem of dealing with diverting food products from incinerators and landfills.  This strategy is anticipated to have a more significant impact as compared with other approaches.


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