A new study, Carbon Footprint of Food Packaging, comparing the carbon footprints of Reusable Plastic Containers (RPCs) and single-use cardboard boxes, has shown that RPCs emit 60% less CO2 when used for packaging, shipping and storing fresh produce. Published in February 2018, the study was conducted by Fraunhofer IBP for Stiftung Initiative Mehrweg (SIM), the Foundation for Reusable Systems, in accordance with ISO 14040/44 standards.
"This study adds to the growing body of evidence that shows RPCs outperform single use cardboard boxes when it comes to sustainability," said Wolfgang Orgeldinger, IFCO CEO. "For instance, the study supports information we published last year showing the use of IFCO RPCs has eliminated 3.4 billion kg of CO2 emissions over the last 25 years, the equivalent of removing nearly 500,000 cars from the roads."
The Fraunhofer study evaluated RPC and cardboard box fresh produce shipments in Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands and France. It showed:
The Fraunhofer study findings are consistent with the results of a 2017 study, Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Reusable Plastic Containers and Display- and Non-Display-Ready Corrugated Containers Used for Fresh Produce Applications, conducted by Franklin Associates for IFCO. That Life Cycle Assessment showed RPCs outperform single-use cardboard boxes on numerous sustainability criteria, including carbon emissions, solid waste, water use, energy use, and environmental pollution impact.
"The growing body of industry data confirms the intrinsic sustainability benefits of RPCs, providing additional incentive for forward-thinking and socially-responsible growers and retailers to partner with IFCO to improve the efficiency and sustainability of their supply chains," concluded Mr. Orgeldinger.
IFCO is the leading global provider of reusable packaging solutions for fresh foods, serving customers in 50+ countries. IFCO operates a pool of over 290 million Reusable Plastic Containers (RPCs) globally, which are used for over 1.3 billion shipments of fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, bread, and other items from suppliers to grocery retailers every year. IFCO RPCs ensure a better fresh food supply chain by protecting freshness and quality and lowering costs, food waste and environmental impact compared to single-use packaging.
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