News 3050 views update:Oct 20, 2011

Largest US poultry plant now using recyclable boxes

Global Green USA, Mountaire Farms, and Interstate Container announced completion of the conversion of the largest poultry plant in the US to recyclable, wax-alternative boxes, thereby reducing costs and environmental impact, and assisting its customers in cost-effectively meeting their environmental goals.

At the International Poultry Expo, Global Green USA applauded Mountaire Farms and Interstate Container for their pioneering roles in reducing the environmental impact of wholesale transfer packaging as this innovation has the potential to influence the design of transfer packaging for all types of poultry, meat, produce and seafood delivered to grocers and restaurants throughout the world.

Recyclable modified atmosphere packaging

In March 2009, Interstate and Mountaire Farms announced its plans to conduct trials of recyclable modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) through Hunt’s Point, the world’s largest food distribution center, as part of Global Green’s Coalition for Resource Recovery’s initiative to achieve 100% recyclable wholesale transfer packaging through the facility. Trials began pallet by pallet through Hunt’s Point’s harsh conditions and progressed to the truck load, and finally a 2-week test where Mountaire product shipped solely in the Fibre Box Association (FBA)-Certified recyclable boxes.

Upon successful completion of the pilot in September 2009, Mountaire announced its plan to not only convert its existing MAP to recyclable boxes but also to convert its ice packed product to MAP to allow for a full transition of its entire product line to recyclable boxes. The full conversion of Mountaire’s first facility and the largest poultry plant in the US, located in Lumber Bridge, NC, was completed in January.

According to Interstate Container’s National Account Manager, Pete Bugas, “This is a first truly significant step towards replacing high-performance wax boxes throughout the difficult fresh food distribution channels. These boxes must withstand an extremely wet and challenging environment.”

Water and energy savings

The switch to FBA-certified recyclable packaging is only one component of the sustainable packaging transition. The switch in packaging methods from ice packed poultry to MAP will result in significant water and energy savings.
The box size was reduced, all wax was eliminated from the box, reducing the use of corrugated and petroleum products. If all of the newly designed boxes were recycled, the greenhouse gas benefit from source reduction and recycling the boxes would be 100,000 mt of CO2 emissions annually. In addition, the switch from ice-packed poultry to MAP is estimated to save millions of gallons of water annually. Combined these innovations also improve efficiency, streamline operations, and provide a safer work environment.

"To be competitive in today's world economy, our goal must be the sustainable use of materials," said Matt Hale, director of the US Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery.  "Producing materials that can be recovered and reused at end of life helps us achieve this goal."

Source: Global Green USA

Natalie Berkhout

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