A New Orleans seafood company is testing recyclable seafood boxes that, if used by retailers and restaurants nationwide, could result in a net benefit of combined cost savings and revenue of $200 million, says Global Green USA’s Coalition for Resource Recovery (CoRR), which is organizing the pilot program.
The pilot began at New Orleans Fish House, testing recyclable coated corrugated boxes as methods of transporting locally caught seafood. The boxes, made by CoRR members Cascades Industrial Packaging and Interstate Container, are designed to be recyclable, unlike the paraffin-coated packaging typically used, and also withstand the icy seafood packing process.
At the New Orleans Fish House, seafood and ice were placed in the recyclable boxes, palletized and loaded onto a delivery truck. Representatives from Global Green USA and the packaging companies followed the truck as it made deliveries in the Baton Rouge area, observing the unloading of the seafood at an event venue, a large hotel and a restaurant. At each location, the recipients of the boxes confirmed that the boxes were performing well, Global Green says.
In addition to the environmental benefits, Eddie Gonzales, sales representative at the New Orleans Fish House, says sustainable packaging makes business sense. The boxes don’t have to be sent to the landfill — a cost that the company would otherwise pass on to retailers and restaurants.
Greens, vegetables, seafood and meats are often transported in paraffin-coated cardboard, generating 1.45 million tons of solid waste that must be sent to landfills or burned, Global Green says.
The boxes, donated for testing by Cascades and Interstate Container, are recyclable in accordance with the Fibre Box Association’s recyclability and repulpability protocol for wax-alternative coatings.
IFCO Systems says a third-party study published last month 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.
The environmental benefits are primarily due to container reuse, the study says.