Packaging waste REDUCTION?
CO2 emission REDUCTION?
Energy consumption REDUCTION?
Any good we buy is itself, for the sole reason of having been produced and marketed, cause of greenhouse gas concentration increase in the atmosphere. A further increase is very likely to occur as well upon its end of life, during the waste disposal process.
Indeed, in 2005 the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change pronounced with clear words:
«Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the measured increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gases concentration»
As a first step in the direction of clamping down on greenhouse gas emissions (CO2), the Eurepack Consortium advocates Reuse as the effective solution for a dramatic reduction of the solid waste production.
The usage of plastic crates provides noticeable benefits both to the environment and to the logistic operations along the supply chain.
As regards the environmental sustainability, this solution indeed leads to a dramatic reduction of the solid waste production, with the consequent simplification of the disposal management and the reduction of the related costs.
The plastic material is entirely recyclable. That guarantees a simple and cost-effective management of the end-of-life crates, whose raw material is in fact re-employed in the production of brand-new crates to be used in the same circuit. Thus, configuring a circular scheme in which ideally nothing is dispersed in the environment. Where, alongside the environmental benefits, like CO2 reduction and energy saving, we enjoy the guarantee of the conservation of the value level throughout the re-cycling process.
We do not create solid waste, we do not lose value!
The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) analysis permits a realistic estimation of the CO2 reduction associated with the implementation of re-usable crates, in lieu of the one-way ones.
The Companies members of the Eurepack Consortium handle, in Italy, each year, about 300 million reusable plastic crates, within the fruit & vegetable supply chain. This implies the elimination of as many one-way crates from the collection and disposal process. Thus, enjoying a waste reduction of 150.000 tons/year, and a CO2 reduction of about 10.000 tons/year.
The LCA methodology also permits to estimate the energy saving, not at all negligible, as a function of the number of re-use, and of the reverse logistics organization.
Moreover, the LCA methodology allows forecasts about benefits deriving from the emplyment of reusable crates within the logistics of other supplu chains. Thorough estimantions can be obtained from data acquired with pilot-projects to be implemented on a small scale. It si to facilitate such implementations that we advocate the full commitment of business operators and national/local authorities.
In the end, the versatility of the plastic materials permits to imagine design solutions able to constantly improve the cost-effectiveness and the quality of products, their manufacturing process, and their logistic supply chain, with measurable positive effects on the environmental sustainability, as well as on the profitability of the supply chain, and of the economic development of the territory in which manufacturing, and logistics operate.