New IFCO wash plant sets a standard for automation and sustainability
IFCO, the leading global provider of Reusable Packaging Containers (RPCs), has enhanced its sustainability efforts and extended its pooling capabilities by launching a cutting-edge service center in Dannstadt, Germany. The facility, situated in a central transportation hub in Europe, establishes a new benchmark for energy efficiency, conservation, and sustainable practices. These initiatives align with IFCO’s ambitious objectives to achieve carbon neutrality in operations by 2025 and net-zero emissions across the entire business by 2040.
The state-of-the-art facility has been bestowed with a gold certification for green buildings by the German Sustainable Building Council (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen), a globally recognized and independent standard for sustainability. The Dannstadt service center is strategically positioned and designed to cater to clients dedicated to decreasing the environmental impact of their end-to-end supply chain operations, including Scope 3 emissions, which refer to indirect emissions that occur in an organization’s upstream and downstream activities, such as packaging and transportation.
The Dannstadt service center is among the most advanced and digitally integrated facilities of its kind in Europe, particularly in terms of automation. The center features an automated sorting and crate identification system that handles and sorts all types and sizes of IFCO RPCs throughout the high-pressure wash and sanitization process. Additionally, the IFCO SmartCycle wash process efficiently reuses water while adhering to global standards for food-safe packaging and hygiene. This procedure has been approved by IFCO and validated by independent third-party food safety specialists, effectively and reliably removing customer labels.
“The new facility will benefit customers on multiple levels,” said Dirk Schaich, Director IFCO Supply Chain & Operations. “The Dannstadt area is one of the largest agricultural regions in Germany and is ideally positioned to optimize transport routes to serve our retail partners in the southwest of Germany. Additionally, by inspecting, repairing, and sanitizing our RPCs in this state-of-the-art service center, we will serve our customers with reusable packaging in the most sustainable way.”
IFCO is committed to flourishing in the circular economy and advancing its sustainable objectives by reinforcing the circular principles of its business model. In line with this, the Dannstadt service center was constructed with a focus on the local community and natural ecosystem. The park-like design, wildflower meadow, and natural pond not only promote employee well-being but also serve as a sanctuary for indigenous birds and wildlife. The site features eco-friendly permeable paving and a cutting-edge fire safety and sprinkler system to prioritize health and safety. This forward-thinking design aligns with IFCO’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy to further enhance sustainability efforts.
Moreover, the roof includes green spaces and a photovoltaic system that provides energy to the building. The site also boasts modern underfloor heating and LED lighting. A heat-and-power plant fuels a highly efficient air-to-water heat pump that supports the wash center’s water heating and washing machines. This inventive approach enables IFCO to reduce gas usage and associated CO2 emissions by almost 23% compared to a typical European service center.
“This flagship service center underscores IFCO’s commitment to provide the most comprehensive, sustainable and efficient reusable packaging which enables our customers to actively participate in the circular economy. This is how we make the fresh grocery supply chain sustainable,” said Mike Pooley, IFCO CEO.
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