IFCO Systems says a third-party study shows its reusable plastic containers for fresh products generate 82 percent less solid waste, consume 92 percent less water, require 49 percent lower energy demand, and lower ozone depletion by 76 percent for a weighted average of 10 top produce commodities compared with shipping the same amount of produce in display-ready corrugated boxes.
Franklin Associates, a division of ERG, produced the report. The consulting company specializes in lifecycle analyses and solid waste management.
The study results mean that for every 1,000 pounds of produce shipped in IFCO reusable plastic containers instead of display-ready corrugated boxes, growers and retailers save approximately 13 pounds of solid waste, 700,000 British Thermal Unit (BTU) of energy (equivalent to 5 gallons of diesel) and 360 gallons of water, IFCO says.
The environmental benefits are primarily due to container reuse, according to Franklin Associates’ Rebe Feraldi, the certified lifecycle analysis practitioner who was the primary analyst for the project. She says the process of delivering produce with reusable plastic containers only consumes about 33/1000ths of the reusable plastic container material per use cycle compared to 100 percent material manufacturing and recycling required per use with shipments made in single-use fiber containers.
In other sustainable packaging news, NewPage’s LittleFoot family of 100 percent compostable packaging barrier products has won the Institute of Packaging Professional’s 2013 AmeriStar Sustainability award. The packaging laminate was developed to offer oxygen and moisture barrier levels that the company says are ideal for shelf stable food applications such as coffee, dry mixes, confections and energy bars.
Also, Amcor Flexibles has launched Packpyrus, thermoformable cellulose-based packaging for the fresh market. The company says the packaging’s oxygen barrier makes it is particularly suitable for pre-sliced products like meat or cheese.
Packpyrus comes in three versions: Packpyrus Flexible for vacuum pack base webs, and Packpyrus Semi-Rigid and Packpyrus Rigid for modified atmosphere base webs.
The company says the Packpyrus Flexible and Packpyrus Rigid offer improvement in lifecycle performance compared to traditional packing. Because of their lightness, use of renewable fibers and optimized manufacturing processes, they reduce cradle-to-gate carbon footprint by about 70 percent and 60 percent, respectively, Amcor Flexibles says.