Reusable plastic containers cut solid waste by 82% compared to single-use corrugated boxes, according to a study of IFCO Systems containers by Franklin Associates.
The RPC’s also use 92% less water and 49% less energy, according to Prairie Village, Kan.-based Franklin Associates. IFCO released the study June 18.
For every 1,000 pounds of produce shipped, growers and retailers using the containers cut about 13 pounds of solid waste; the energy equivalent of 5 gallons of diesel; and 360 gallons of water, according to the study.
Peer review of the analysis was by a three-member panel chaired by Susan Selke, associate director and professor at the School of Packaging at Michigan State University.
The environmental benefits were due mainly to reuse, Franklin Associates life cycle analyst Rebe Feraldi said in a news release.
“While corrugated containers incorporate recovered fiber and are recycled at high rates, they must be manufactured and recycled for each produce shipment made in a single-trip container,” Feraldi said.
Delivering produce with RPC’s consumes 3.3% of container material per use cycle compared to 100% material manufacturing and recycling required for shipments made in single-use fiber containers, according to Feraldi.
“We are delighted with the third party validation that our business processes are effectively managing resources,” IFCO USA president and general manager Fred Heptinstall said in the release.
The logistics service provider has more than 210 locations worldwide. It operates a pool of more than 170 million RPC’s, mainly used for fresh produce. The company is part of Brambles Ltd.