Fighting food waste is one of the key objectives of all countries. While people are facing hunger for years in various African and East Asian countries, the developed world has become a victim of consumerism – large quantities of food are shipped, stored, delivered and sold and a significant percentage goes to the landfill. While consumers throw away large quantities of food past their expiration date, a lot of food waste occurs within the supply chain. One of the key factors that effectively mitigate the issue is implementing reusable plastic packaging in the food supply chain.
Are Reusable Plastic Packaging Solutions Safe?
In our experience, many companies still resist the idea of switching to reusable plastic packaging because this material has a bad reputation. It is mostly associated with single-use packaging materials and pollution. However, we are talking about a different type of packaging products.
Reusable plastic packaging materials are intended for long-term use. We are talking about at least 4-5 years of repeated use cycles. Secondly, these packaging materials are recyclable or already made from recycled materials. They do not end in landfills and do not add up to the global plastic pollution problem.
Finally, the type of plastic used to produce these packaging materials – containers, pallets, crates – is approved for food contact. This means that it was tested and proven not to leak any chemicals into the food products stored inside them or onto them.
Ways in Which Reusable Plastic Packaging Fight Food Waste
Let us take a candid look at how food is handled during the journey from farm or processing plant to the store shelf. It is a rough journey, which involves traveling over land or sea, multiple points of handling, loading and unloading.
In some cases, hurry, lack of attention or accidents cause employees to drop the packaged food. If the packaging is not reliable and breaks, the entire batch of products becomes inadequate for selling. Reusable plastic packaging can make a huge difference in the food supply chain from this point of view. Here are a few relevant points:
1. Plastic Containers Offer Protection against Mechanical Shocks
Delicate food products such as eggs, fresh dairy products, tender meat cuts and soft fruit and vegetables can suffer a lot of damage during transportation and handling if they are not packed properly. Corrugated cardboard and wooden crates offer little to no protection to these products.
By contrast, reusable plastic packaging materials have a sturdy build and can withstand mechanical shocks while protecting the products inside. Switching to plastic pallets and plastic containers can significantly reduce the percentage of damaged foods in transit.
2. Reusable Plastic Packaging Is Specifically Designed for Food Products
Specialized packaging helps preserve the freshness of fruit and vegetables, as well as that of processed foods (especially bakery products). Plastic packaging producers like Logistic Packaging understand the challenges of shipping these products and designs reusable plastic packaging that offers optimal transportation conditions.
Some of the features we include in packaging designed for food products are:
- Smooth inner walls to protect the fresh produce from marking and denting
- Perforated sides and bottom to facilitate ventilation and the drainage of liquids
- Simple design for pallets used in cleanroom environments to prevent accumulation of dirt.
3. Safe Handling Both by Employees and Automated Equipment
Handling is one of the most risk prone activities in the food supply chain. Unloading trucks, moving products from store backroom to the aisle and any other type of human or automated handling can result in accidents – especially if the packaging is not reliable and does not have an ergonomic design.
Reusable plastic packaging materials are designed with both human and automated handling in mind. The pallets have feet or skids to facilitate handling by pallet trucks and forklifts from two or four sides. Containers are provided with handles on the short sides, making them easy to lift and carry by a person.
Reusable plastic packaging is proven to help reduce food waste in the supply chain, through direct observations made by companies who chose to upgrade their packaging materials. The Logistic Packaging team is ready to help you find the best products for your packaging needs and assist you in the implementation phase. Send us an email and let us start discussing your packaging application!