A ‘REEL’ Look at Programs, Best Practices & Technology Innovations for the Wire & Cable Industry


May 2, 2022

by Daniela De Marco, Marketing Manager, EFC

“The properties of wire and cable require reels to be robust and have certain structural specifications to ensure wire and cable goods are not compromised between the time they leave the factory to when they are installed on site,” said Rob McIntyre, retired Manager of EFC’s Business Sections.

The use and safe handling of reels for wire and cable can be as valuable as the product they carry. Proper protection is a safety, quality, and economic matter. Millions of dollars worth of reels are in circulation across North America; therefore, the diligent handling of reels at every point in the supply chain can offer big rewards. Returnable Reels provide many benefits, such as avoiding the cost of disposal and producing new reels, reducing the impact of landfill waste on the environment, and returning reels that meet Manufacturers’ and Distributors’ Reel Return Policy guidelines offer recovery on deposits paid. The returns for managing reels will make an effort well worth it, financially and environmentally.

The reality is that once a reel is empty, it often results in a series of challenges for several reasons: 

  • Lack of consistency in reel return programs offered by suppliers (manufacturers or distributors). 
  • A wide range of reel sizes and configurations, and the quality of reels can be variable. 
  • Transportation costs are a serious consideration for the return of reels; the vast geography of Canada and the wide disbursement of reels, often to remote locations, magnify logistics considerations. 
  • The collection, reuse, and recycling of reels are not yet subject to government regulation; as such, environmental impacts result from reels being abandoned or sent to landfills.

As a result, a group of members was formed from Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) ’s Wire & Cable Business Section to develop a best practices guideline document to provide guidance on programs, best practices and technology innovations and the most productive use for the safe return and handling of wire and cable reels. 

Earlier this year, the document was finalized and distributed for public viewing and covers the following areas:

  • Reel types, specifications, capacities, and marking and labelling.
  • Reel handling, storage and transport.
  • Reel administration and return programs.
  • Reel care, repair and disposal.
  • Technology and innovation.

This document, along with other Wire & Cable reel resources, can be found online at www.electrofed.com/resource-library-wire-cable-reels/.

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