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Wakefern adopts sustainable produce packaging

Wakefern Food Corp., one of the largest retailer-owned grocery cooperatives in the United States is adopting the latest in Reusable Plastic Containers  in its produce department to help improve quality, sustainability and lower costs for customers.   

By partnering with companies such as IFCO and Tosca that specialize in RPCs, Wakefern is able to maximize supply chain efficiency through better product protection and temperature control.  The containers also save time, space and money for shippers and allow for improved freshness with highly-ventilated, foldable and sturdy designs.  Additionally, RPCs allow produce to be better stored and handled in warehouses through efficient stacking and integration with automated processes, reducing potential food loss and waste from conventional single use packaging.

“Adopting reusable RPCs is a win for our customers, our suppliers, the environment and Wakefern,” said Robert Zuehlke, manager of corporate social responsibility for Wakefern.  “Wakefern is focused on engaging vendors whose products help drive a more sustainable future by reducing the environmental impacts of packaging, food waste, and greenhouse gas emissions.”

When compared to single-use packaging RPCs are shown to generate less carbon dioxide and solid waste.  They also require less energy and use less water then their single-use counterparts. In fact, according to the Plastics Industry Association, making new products with recycled plastics, not just RPCs, requires 66 percent less energy than using raw plastic materials.

For more than four decades, Wakefern Food Corp., the retailer owned cooperative that includes nearly 280 ShopRite stores, has worked to protect the environment, conserve natural resources, and assist communities where its stores operate.  This effort expands on Wakefern’s food loss prevention and food waste diversion practices. Last year alone, Wakefern donated over 5,000 tons of food to local food banks, composted more than 8,200 tons of food waste, and since the late 1970’s has recycled more than 2.6 million tons of materials.
 

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