Seafood packaging gets the green light

21 Mar 2014

New water-resistant seafood packaging that is 100% recyclable has passed pilot tests in the US, paving the way for a greener and cheaper way of transporting seafood for the packer, distributor and retailer.

Environmental organisation, Global Green USA, coordinated the pilot to transport Chesapeake Bay seafood on one of NAFCO’s longest shipping routes. As the cardboard boxes, which were donated for testing by Cascades and Interstate Container, were unloaded, all present confirmed good performance, says Global Green.

Olivier Doiron, sales representative, Cascades Industrial Packaging, said: "Our Extreme H2O box is specifically designed for replacement of waxed boxes, and our Thermafresh box is a substitute for traditional EPS containers.”

"We use a non-wax coating that keeps the box strong, but make it easy to recycle it with regular cardboard. Our customers find that it adds value when they use recyclable packaging; what was a cost of getting rid of waste material now becomes a revenue stream for the grocer or restaurant who receives the seafood,” he added.

This pilot marks a step toward more sustainable food systems. Vegetables, seafood and meats are often transported in paraffin-coating cardboard, generating 1.45 million tonnes of solid waste that must be sent to landfills or burned.

Old corrugated cardboard is the most widely recovered packaging material in the US, meaning that if this packaging were recyclable it could be collected and recovered in nearly every community in the country.

NAFCO was also pleased with the results and says it hopes to be able to provide 100% recyclable packaging with all its products in future.

"Sustainability goes beyond the seafood harvest - packaging matters,” added Lily Kelly, senior programme associate, Global Green USA. “If all unrecyclable corrugated packaging were replaced with recyclable alternatives, and recycled, the greenhouse gas emissions reduction would be equivalent to shutting down an entire coal-fired power plant with no energy loss, and grocers and restaurants would save $200 million."

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