Fresh Del Monte Produce has partnered with Arena Packaging to introduce reusable plastic containers for bananas, starting in Texas markets, to reduce waste and improve shipping operations.
Bananas have traditionally been packaged in single-use cardboard boxes, and the new reusable plastic containers RPCs present an alternative, low-waste option that may also improve airflow and extend shelf life. The containers may be used for 15 years and reused about five times each year. If damaged, individual parts of the packaging may be collected, replaced, and repurposed, according to Del Monte.
The new packaging, while reducing waste, will reportedly also help reduce labor associated with shipping bananas without compromising on the fruit’s quality. While cardboard boxes are recyclable, boxes have to be broken down manually once shipped to the grocery store. The RPCs allow for less handling overall, reportedly resulting in a healthier-looking fruit to be sold in grocery stores.
“Our collaboration with Fresh Del Monte Produce is set to redefine the entire process of packing, shipping, ripening, storing, and merchandising bananas,” said Tony Arena, founder and CEO of Arena Packaging. “This marks a significant milestone in our shared mission to establish a more sustainable and circular packaging system. The Arena Banana RPC reduces the carbon footprint by 90% over a traditional corrugated banana carton.”
Packaging Reuse Supports Del Monte’s Sustainability Program
Reusable packaging has been identified as an even more effective tactic than recycling in most cases when it comes to reducing waste.
According to the EPA, the best way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place, and reusable options help avoid dependence on new packaging. Further, reusing can help companies save on costs, again by avoiding the need to buy additional supplies. Small businesses are also reportedly turning to sustainable packaging and implementing reuse strategies for customer returns.
With food systems accounting for about a quarter of the world’s emissions, growers and food producers are exploring multiple avenues for reducing this impact, from waste reduction to agricultural practices.
In addition to reusable packaging efforts, Del Monte has turned to water conservation, regenerative agriculture, and land conservation for protecting biodiversity. Like many other companies, it has committed to the Science Based Targets Initiative in order to reduce its environmental impact.