RPCs deliver greater savings, study shows

IFCO has released the results of its updated report, Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Reusable Plastic Container and Display- and Non-Display-Ready Corrugated Containers Used for Fresh Produce Applications (LCA). It shows IFCO reusable plastic containers (RPCs) deliver greater environmental savings for delivering fresh produce in North America than the use of single-use corrugated fiber containers.

The LCA reviewed the environmental impact of RPCs and display-ready corrugated fiber containers (DRCs) and non-display-ready corrugated fiber containers (NDCs) for packaging apples, bell peppers, carrots, grapes, iceberg lettuce, onions, oranges, peaches/nectarines, tomatoes and strawberries.

The study concludes, “In all eight examined environmental indicators (energy demand, global warming potential, ozone depletion potential, water consumption, acidification, eutrophication, photochemical smog, solid waste generation), the IFCO RPCs, as defined in this analysis, provide greater environmental savings for delivering produce in North America than does the use of fiber corrugated containers for these commodities.”

The 2017 LCA shows that, compared with display-ready corrugated boxes, RPCs:

•Produce 31% less global warming potential (carbon dioxide equivalents)

•Produce 86% less solid waste

•Consume 80% less water

•Require 64% less energy

•Contribute significantly less environmental pollution (85% lower eutrophication, 78% lower ozone depletion, 66% lower acidification, and 42% less photochemical smog)

This LCA is an update to the IFCO/Franklin Associates LCA released in April 2016. Key modeling data—including the recycled content for corrugated boxes used for fresh produce packaging—were evaluated and updated as appropriate to ensure the 2017 LCA was based on current and up-to-date information.

For more information, access www.ifco.com.

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