NEWSFLASH - Dual Height Poultry Crate Wins Environmental Packaging Award for Viscount Plastics
Every day, 365 days a year, half a Tonne of one-way contaminated cardboard removed has been removed from the waste stream. In addition there has been an increase in space utilisation in delivery trucks by 15%, These benefits have contributed to Viscount Plastics taking out a top award in the Packaging Council's 2009 Environmental Packaging Awards.
The vibrant New Zealand plastic packaging and supply chain solutions company was judged winner of the 'Supply Chain Influence On Packaging Design Award' for a dual height 'Returnable Transit Packaging System' crate. Working with Foodstuffs (Wellington) Co-operative Society and the fresh poultry suppliers, Viscount Plastics developed the dual height crate specifically for the consolidated supply to the Distribution Centre and deliveries from the Foodstuffs Distribution Centre in Palmerston North to more than 150 outlets throughout the lower North Island.
A key feature of the crate is an internal stacking mechanism that allows the crate to be filled to two heights, effectively creating two crates out of one. This not only saved Foodstuffs the costs of purchasing an additional crate but also from paying for shipping unused space in a partly filled single height crate. Producing a second crate would have also meant the additional utilisation of some 94 tonnes of raw material.
The lower height stacking capacity has 23 Litres of space Foodstuffs uses for poultry cuts and pieces, while the higher stacking height provides capacity for whole birds up to size 30. This flexibility, coupled with the far greater load strength of plastic crates over the cardboard cartons previously used for Foodstuffs' poultry distribution, has achieved 15% greater space utilisation in trucks. In combination with other efficiencies of Foodstuff's centralised distribution, the dual height crate has removed at least 150 vehicle movements per day from the supply chain; itself a significant saving in fuel usage and carbon emissions.
An early innovator in developing deep nesting of empty crates, Viscount Plastics has incorporated this into the dual height crate so that in storage and on the return empty loop, crates nest to just 25% of their height. On a pallet, 200 empty crates stack to a height of less than 2m.
A justifiably proud Viscount Plastics General Manager Sean Delaney describes the dual height poultry crate as an ideal fit with the 'Closing The Loop' theme of the 2009 Packaging Council Awards.
“The development of the dual height crate shows what can be achieved when client and supplier are committed to working together to reduce environmental impact across a number of aspects of the supply chain,” suggests Sean Delaney. “It shows that 'Returnable Transit Packaging Systems' can achieve cost savings as well as support a whole range of environmental initiatives. UK respected research has shown that plastic Returnable Transit Packaging has a carbon footprint close to 70% less than single trip cardboard cartons which certainly supports multi-use of plastic and its 100 per cent recyclability. With New Zealand's fast diminishing landfill capacity and the increasing costs of disposal, reducing pressure by 200 Tonnes of contaminated cardboard packaging a year is quite an achievement and because each crate in a stack rests on stacker bars, unlike cardboard cartons there's no risk of the poultry being crushed by the weight of cartons above it. This reduces product waste and more importantly supports Foodstuffs' objectives of delivering to their customers top quality fresh poultry.
“The project shows all the benefits that can be attributed to ‘Returnable Transit Packaging’;
Waste reduction, cost reduction, supply chain efficiencies, product enhancement and environmental benefits. All of these we will continue into the future, every day, 365 days a year.”
Viscount Plastics is no stranger to winning packaging awards. In the 2006 New Zealand Institute of Packaging Innovation Awards, the company won the 'Packaging Component or Complete Product Package’ category for its development of the 8 litre straight-sided EZY Can plastic paint can. Viscount Plastics was also the Supreme winner of the Environmental Packaging Awards in 2005. Now and into the future, Viscount Plastics looks forward to working with key industries to work towards a more sustainable and efficient supply chain in both packaging and materials handling products.