IFCO SYSTEMS awarded as “Best Performer of the Circular Economy” by CONFINDUSTRIA 

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Rome, May 16, 2019: IFCO SYSTEMS, the leading global provider of reusable packaging solutions for fresh foods, has won the award as “Best Performer of the Circular Economy” by CONFINDUSTRIA, the main association representing manufacturing and service companies in Italy. The renowned award proves IFCO’s commitment to protecting the environment.

The award aims to enhance the value of companies committed to seizing the spirit and business opportunities offered by the circular economy throughout the complete production cycle – from procurement to design, production, distribution, and consumption, to recovery and recycling.

CONFINDUSTRIA has recognised the value of IFCO’s logistics management model, the IFCO SmartCycle™. This circular economy model is based on the principle of “Share and Reuse” to guarantee maximum functionality and hygiene throughout the complete fresh foods supply chain. The IFCO SmartCycle™ uses Reusable Plastic Containers (RPCs) that are delivered directly to the supplier. From there, the containers are transported to the distribution center, the retailers, and then back to the IFCO collection and washing centers. In the washing centers, the empty RPCs are inspected, cleaned, disinfected and prepared for the next cycle. In addition, the IFCO RPCs are foldable, reducing bulk and thus optimizing transport and storage with an additional positive impact on the environment.


IFCO’s washing systems are designed to reduce water consumption and to allow energy recovery and water reuse. In some of the washing centers, water and steam recovery and regeneration processes have also been implemented – a technology that will be extended to other washing facilities in the future. Thanks to this innovative approach, IFCO has reduced its water use by 9%, while washing more RPCs than in 2017.

Optimization along the entire supply chain

The award ceremony was held in Rome on May 16 in the presence of Sergio Costa, the Italian Minister of the Environment and Protection of the Land and Sea, as well as Eleonora Gemini, Managing Director of IFCO SYSTEMS Italy.

“We are very proud of the award by CONFINDUSTRIA, as it acknowledges our tangible commitment to sustainability that has always distinguished us. In 1992, we were the first to propose a system of reusing RPCs for the fruit and vegetable market. Since then, we have continued to follow the path towards constant process optimization in order to allow our customers to become more sustainable along the entire supply chain. Our products cover the entire supply chain, from manufacturer to store. By sharing and reusing resources, it creates a more efficient supply chain, reducing both operational costs and the demand for natural resources”, explains Eleonora Gemini.

Reduce CO2 emissions, waste, energy and water consumption

The IFCO SmartCycle™ is a closed and totally sustainable cycle: All of IFCO’s RPCs are used between 30 and 120 times before being removed from service due to wear, damage or design changes. In addition, damaged containers that cannot be repaired are 100% recycled and used for the production of new RPCs, significantly reducing the demand for raw materials.

“The IFCO SmartCycle™ is a great example of a circular economy, as it translates into tangible and measurable resource savings. It significantly reduces CO2 emissions, waste, energy and water consumption, as well as food waste. SIM and IFCO have commissioned critically reviewed life cycle assessment (LCAs) studies showing that the use of RPCs leads to a reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 60% compared to disposable one-way packaging. In addition, RPCs save up to 64% of energy and up to 80% of water, as well as up to 86% of solid waste. They also reduce product damage by 96% compared to one-way packaging”, says Eleonora Gemini.


IFCO constantly monitors the environmental benefits generated by its RPCs and the SmartCycle™. In Europe and North America, the following savings have been achieved in 2018:

• 590,155 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to 320,471 fewer cars on the road in a year

• 10.6 million cubic meters of water, equivalent to over 240 million five-minute showers

• 37,840 terajoules of electricity, enough to power over 19.9 million light bulbs for a year

• 303,980 tonnes of solid waste, equivalent to the trash produced by 223 million individuals per day

• 54,075 tonnes of food product waste, equivalent to 90 million average meals in the world.

“The award as ‘Best Performer of the Circular Economy’ is an incentive for us to continue on our path towards an even more environmentally friendly supply chain. The award is confirming our pioneering approach, which is made possible by the constant improvement and innovation of our products, our sustainable activities and our supply chain”, concludes Wolfgang Orgeldinger, CEO of IFCO.

Additional information

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. More: www.ifco.com.