Group seeks alternatives to wax coating on cartons

01/22/2013 04:31:00 PM
Tom Karst

A newly released video from Global Green USA reveals promising results of 2012 pilots to test recyclable produce boxes.

The Santa Monica,Calif.-based environmental group joined with members of the Coalition for Resource Recovery to test alternatives to paraffin-coated produce boxes, according to a news release from Global Green.

Results of the two pilots show that many products with recyclable coatings are strong enough to hold up to vacuum cooling, hydro-vac and hydo-cooling processes, according to the release. Pilots were conducted in Salinas, Calif. and Vineland, N.J.

COURTESY GLOBAL GREEN USA.Cartons of vegetables emerge from a hydro-cooler in a test to compare the strength and ability to withstand water damage of cartons using wax alternatives. Waxed cartons cannot be recycled, but untreated corrugated containers are susceptible to damage when they’re wet. “The move to recyclable-coated boxes will divert waste from landfills and save money for the food service and retail industry,” Lily Kelly, interim Director of the Coalition for Resource Recovery and coordinator of the pilots, said in the release. “It is an exciting time.”

Greens, vegetables, meat and seafood are often transported in paraffin-coated cardboard, according to the release. That results in 1.45 million tons of solid waste that must be sent to landfills or burned.

If used instead of wax-infused boxes, recyclable cartons could provide retailers and foodservice operators a benefit of $200 million in cost savings and new revenue, according to the release. In addition, industry adoption of alternative recyclable-coating packaging, along with recycling those packages, could cut America’s annual carbon emissions by the equivalent of what one coal-fired power plant produces in a year, according to the release.

“This is good news for farmers and our customers,” Vince Consalo, president of Wm. Consalo & Sons Farms Inc., Vineland, N.J., said in the release.

Consalo & Sons helped test recyclable boxes in September.

“Recyclability is a big selling point,” Consalo said.

Lakeside Organic Gardens in Watsonville, Calif., also participated in the pilot.

One buyer said the recyclable-coated cartons are preferable to wax-infused cartons.

“Selling cardboard is a revenue stream for us and it helps contribute to our Zero Waste Goals of 2020,” Dom D’Agostino of retailer Ahold International, said in the release. “If we could recycle coated cardboard, it would significantly help us meet these goals.”

Global Green USA’s pilot series will continue in 2013, according to the release.

“As a third party, our job is to document these tests and spread the word about what is recyclable and what works,” she said in the release. “Our next steps are to document increasingly tough use of the boxes — wetter cooling and longer distance travelled.


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