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Reusable Packaging Best for Perishable Loads, Study Shows

Reusable packaging is much less likely to damage perishable loads such as fruit and vegetables than regular, disposable cardboard packaging, a recent market research survey conducted in Germany shows. 

According to this study, conducted by the Fraumhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics in conjunction with the Cold-Chain Management Working Group at the Universtiy of Bonn, only 0.1% of loads wrapped in reusable packaging suffer damage on their way to the consumer, as opposed to 4% of those packaged in regular cardboard. A large portion of this damage derived from the insufficient robustness and compatibility of cardboard packaging, as well as from its generally inconsistent dimensions. Damage to reusable packaging, on the other hand, was mostly due to incorrect fastening and handling of the loads during transportation. 

As a result of this study, made to order for the German Foundation for Reusable Systems, it was also demonstrated that using cardboard packaging to secure fruit and vegetable loads will eventually result in losses of 36,000 tonnes of produce, costing approximately €68m. Reusable packaging reduces this number to 1.1 tonnes and around €2m in losses. 0.87% of the cardboard packaging was also reported damaged, as opposed to 0.02% of the reusable packaging. 

Since the study was conducted, at least one other country has applied its conclusions to their own economy. Spain's ARECO (the Sustainable Reusable Logistic Element Operators Association) has come on record to say that, were the study's results to be applied to Spain, a loss of over €1.8m in produce could be prevented. 

Results for this study were gathered between July and August of 2012, in three warehouses belonging to each of the main supermarket retailers in Germany. 

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Haulage Exchange, a division of the highly respected Transport Exchange Group, is now one of the UK’s largest and busiest independent freight exchanges, with more than 4,500 active users and half a million haulage movements nationwide. For more information about Haulage Exchange, visit its website at http://www.haulageexchange.co.uk . 

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