In addition to significant supply chain cost savings compared to corrugated boxes, IFCO RPCs offer dramatic environmental benefits. In a comprehensive study* conducted by Franklin Associates, a leading consulting company specializing in life cycle analyses and solid waste management, the environmental benefits of RPCs as compared to corrugated boxes were documented. The findings were then further validated through peer review.**
IFCO RPC Systems Produce 82% Less Solid Waste
RPCs produce 82% less solid waste than corrugated boxes in all produce applications and scenarios. This is due to several key factors:
· The burdens for production of RPCs are allocated over a (large) number of useful lives
· RPCs that remain in the pooling system are recycled when they are removed from service
· Losses of RPCs from the closed-loop system are smaller
· Corrugated boxes make only one trip before they are recycled or disposed
IFCO RPC Systems Require 49% Less Energy
In every product application studied, the benefits of the IFCO RPC solution more than offset the benefits of lighter container weight and a high recycling rate for corrugated containers. As a result, average energy consumption for IFCO RPCs is 49% lower than for corresponding cardboard boxes.
IFCO RPC Systems Consume 92% Less Water
Although RPCs are washed and sanitized after each use, IFCO’s state-of-the-art wash centers utilize water recycling technology which reduces water use by over 33%. Cardboard box systems use substantial amounts of water both during production of new boxes (regardless of recycled content) and during the recycling/re-pulping or disposal phases. As a result, RPC systems consume 92% less water than corresponding cardboard boxes.
RPC Systems Lower Ozone Depletion by 76%
Ozone depletion is the reduction of the protective ozone within the stratosphere caused by emissions of ozone-depleting substances. For cardboard boxes, the bulk of these impacts occur during production of the container (regardless of recycled content). For RPCs, these impacts are primarily the result of diesel use in the distribution of RPCs. However, the amount of ozone-depleting substances released by RPC systems is 76% lower than for corresponding cardboard boxes.
* Franklin, William and Sauer, Beverly. \\\"Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Reusable Plastic Containers and Display- and Non-Display-Ready Corrugated Containers Used for Fresh Produce Applications.\\\" Franklin Associates, a Division of Eastern Research Group, Inc., Prairie Village, KS. Published May 2013.
** Mary Ann Curran, LCA & Sustainability Consultant (BAMAC, Ltd.), Shelie Miller (Center for Sustainable Systems, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan), Dr. Susan Selke (School of Packaging, Michigan State University). Prepared 15