Sainsbury’s says it has achieved a UK first as the first retailer to recycle its old reusable crates into more efficient new ones, made completely from recycled material from its old crates. About 2 million old crates are being ground into plastic flakes as part of the process, before being washed and dried to form new ones. Sainsbury’s supplier for this renewal is Schoeller Allibert.
According to Sainsbury’s, the new crates are fully inter-stackable, improving ease of operation in stores and depots, while improving crate fill and pallet fill. Additionally, the new crate will be more cube efficient for reverse logistics, significantly reducing empty crate transport and requiring fewer loads to transport crates back to suppliers.
The crates, recycled for Sainsbury’s by Schoeller Allibert, are the first in the UK to be made from 100 percent recycled material and meet European Food Safety Authority Standards so they can transport food safely.
“This piece of work was not only about making the right decision for Sainsbury’s from an efficiency perspective – it was also about making sure we did it sustainably. A win win.” says Simon Stokoe, Senior Strategy Manager for Sainsbury’s Supply Chain.
Schoeller Allibert’s EFSA-approved recycling and remoulding process has been developed to help retailers meet increasing stringent sustainability targets as well as strict food safety and hygiene standards,” adds Simon Moulson, Head of Retail Sales for Schoeller Allibert.
This is the first 100 percent recycled food safe crate in the UK. Historically, 100 percent recycled polymer had not been used for crates with direct food contact.
The new crates, moulded from recycled material, are fully compliant with Article 4 of the EU Regulation 282/2008, providing customers with a guarantee of safety and suitability for food contact.
Recently, Schoeller Allibert announced that the European Food Safety Authority had accredited its reusable transport packaging (RTP) recycling process.
“When food-grade crates need replacing due to age or damage, they can be returned to one of our three EFSA-approved facilities for recycling,” Ludo Gielen, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer at Schoeller Allibert, explained at the time. “Providing they have been used in a closed or controlled loop distribution system, which allows traceability of provenance, we can recycle used HDPE and PP material and mold into new crates for use in the food and fresh produce supply chain.”
Traditionally, old or damaged plastic containers would be recycled for other use but could not re-enter the food supply chain as the plastic was not certified for direct contact with fresh produce such as fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, or bakery products.
When crates are returned to Schoeller Allibert for recycling, they are first inspected then reduced into flakes which are washed and dried before being transferred to the injection molding area, to be transformed into a new generation of food-contact approved crates and containers. This means that retailers can replace their inefficient legacy fleet with brand new RTP containers with no pollution and no waste, creating a sustainable packaging cycle all within a matter of weeks.
Source: Sainsbury’s and Schoeller Allibert