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Organic food manufacturer to employ reusable pallet wrap

Light, yet durable, polypropylene sheet fitted with straps and a belt, acts as a reusable pallet cover that can be used up to 250 times.

Premier Organics, makers of Artisana Organic Foods, has been approved for a grant from StopWaste.org in the amount of $3,000 to create and implement a reusable pallet-wrap program at its facilities in Oakland, CA. The grant and matching program is expected to reduce the use of plastic by 4,500 lb.

“Most consumers are unaware that although the products they purchase are packaged in glass, the products still may be using a lot of plastic in the supply chain each time they are wrapped, shipped, and unwrapped,” says Jason Mahon, co-founder of Premier Organics. “This can easily happen three to five times before a food product reaches the consumer.”

The reusable pallet-wrap program is aimed at reducing the internal usage of plastic film in warehousing and operations. Every product made at Premier Organics is put on hold and wrapped while outside food laboratories test the products to ensure excellent food quality and safety. Replacing single-use stretch-wrap film with a multiple-use wrapper is expected to reduce approximately 4,500 lb of material annually, or about 40% of the company’s pallet-wrap usage.

“The food industry continues to use more and more film in their final packaging as consumers demand smaller packaging. We have an obligation to find solutions regarding easy-to-remove waste in our supply chain,” says Mahon.

Premier Organics will be conducting a three-month study and will provide film usage data to Stopwaste.org and other distributors and warehouses in the Bay Area regarding the success of the program. After implementation, Premier hopes that other key partners will want to participate to create a much larger “closed-loop” solution that could include the entire supply chain.

Veritable Vegetable, an organic produce company based in San Francisco, isn’t waiting for results. The company is also creating a reusable pallet-wrap program. Some of Premier Organics’ farmers are already using reusable bulk totes for the transferring of products instead of boxes.

splash_pic.jpgThe reusable pallet wrap, called Envirowrapper, was pioneered by Frank Gallucci, president of Amici Enterprises, Inc. in Calgary, Canada. The reusable wrap is said to reduce waste and also lower the cost of damages in-transit because it provides for a more secure wrap. Envirowrappers can be made in customized sizes to fit specific needs, including refrigerated products like ice cream.

The patented pallet wrap is made of light, yet extremely durable, polypropylene material, straps, and patented, new super-tough plastic buckles. While made of plastic, the Envirowrapper can be used 250 or more times before it wears down. Each unit costs between $40 and $70 depending on the size, country of manufacture, and volume.

The Envirowrapper can be easily applied and removed from a pallet load by one person with their quick-release buckles, complemented by another buckle with a belt for easy roll-up and storage. The specific wrappers that were made for Premier Organics were manufactured in Canada.

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