Knowledge for better food systems

Packaging cuts carbon dioxide emissions

Researchers at Wageningen University and Research Centre have reported that special packaging used to extend fresh produce shelf life can also contribute significantly to reducing CO2 emissions, especially if it is seafreighted.
Researchers at Wageningen University and Research Centre have reported that special packaging used to extend fresh produce shelf life can also contribute significantly to reducing CO2 emissions, especially if it is seafreighted. The results came from an assignment commissioned by Israeli packaging company StePac LA Ltd, producer of Xtend (r) packaging. Researchers at the Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group calculated that the CO2 emissions can also be reduced during truck transport if no ice has to be used to keep the products fresh. Larger quantities of product can then be transported with each shipment. The research was conducted via various transport scenarios, using examples such as white asparagus from Peru, mangoes from Israel and cherries from Chile. The special packaging allows the producer to transport the products by sea instead of by air because it significantly extends the lifespan of the perishable products. For all scenarios in which sea transport was used exclusively, the calculations indicated a reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 90 per cent. For combined transport using both sea and air transport, the reduction was still more than 30 per cent. The Xtend packaging also makes it possible to avoid using ice in waterproof cardboard boxes with a wax layer; this method is used to transport fresh products such as broccoli by truck. In this scenario as well, the special packaging not only reduced costs but also cut CO2 emissions. The CO2 reduction can be as much as 40 per cent. To read the StePac press release see here.
 

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