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Full Belly Farm receives reusable packaging award

Replacing card­board boxes with 2,000 reusable plas­tic totes earned Full Belly Farm, a cer­ti­fied organic farm in Cal­i­for­nia, an Excel­lence in Reusable Pack­ag­ing Award from the Reusable Pack­ag­ing Asso­ci­a­tion.

Replacing card­board boxes with 2,000 reusable plas­tic totes earned Full Belly Farm, a cer­ti­fied organic farm in Cal­i­for­nia, an Excel­lence in Reusable Pack­ag­ing Award from the Reusable Pack­ag­ing Asso­ci­a­tion.

The plas­tic totes are filled with pro­duce for weekly deliv­er­ies to fam­i­lies and then picked up and returned to the farm for reuse the fol­low­ing week. The deliv­ery sites include Full Belly Farm's 44 res­i­den­tial pro­duce pick-up sites and three farm­ers' mar­kets. The deliv­ery con­tain­ers with­stand tem­per­a­tures between 40 and 120 degrees Fahren­heit, han­dle expo­sure to sum­mer sun and win­ter rain, and pro­tect pro­duce dur­ing ship­ping dis­tances up to 150 miles. The pro­gram was funded with a $15,000 grant from StopWaste.Org.

Mea­sur­able improve­ments include:

  • Cost sav­ings of $14,161 per year in avoided waxed card­board box pur­chases; a sav­ings of 8% of total box costs. The sav­ings will con­tinue every year as long as the boxes last.
  • Reduced labor to set up and stack card­board boxes and line them with paper lin­ings each day. Adding the paper lin­ing required an addi­tional per­son on the box fill­ing line - a con­sid­er­able cost for a small company.
  • Avoided 6.54 tons of card­board waste per year, result­ing in an annual reduc­tion of34.1 tons of green­house gas emission.
"All of us at Full Belly Farm strongly believe that it is impor­tant to reduce unnec­es­sary pack­ag­ing," said Judith Red­mond, co-owner. "We are proud to win this award, and it makes us real­ize that reduc­ing pack­ag­ing is more likely when the whole com­mu­nity and groups like StopWaste.org and the RPA are involved."

Sven­ska Retursys­tem also took home an award for its program to estab­lish a com­mon pool­ing sys­tem for more than 200 food pro­duc­ers in Swe­den and food man­u­fac­tur­ers through­out Europe that export their goods to the Swedish trade. Every prod­uct for every gro­cery chain is deliv­ered in the same stan­dard­ized size and type of return­able crate and pal­let. Since the program's incep­tion in 2001, nearly 1 bil­lion crates have been deliv­ered, replac­ing the same num­ber of sin­gle use pack­ag­ing. By offer­ing the whole indus­try the same terms and cost of pack­ag­ing, the pro­gram has neu­tral­ized pack­ag­ing as a com­pet­i­tive fac­tor and freed up the food pro­duc­ers to focus more on their core business.  

The com­pa­nies will pro­vide details of their award-winning imple­men­ta­tions at the RPA's Reusables Learn­ing Cen­ter at Pack Expo in Chicago. 

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