Euro Pool System is upgrading its entire pool of reusable crates in the Benelux countries a bid to become more sustainable.
Since the beginning of February, the company has been replacing its millions of rigid blue containers with the newest generation of green folding trays. This will enable it to save an estimated 20,000 freight vehicle trips required to transport empty trays.
At most supermarkets in the Benelux countries, fruit and vegetables are shipped from the supplier to the store in blue trays. The new trays can be collapsed after use, so they take up seven times less space on the return trip.
“More empty trays can fit in the freight vehicle. As a result, we literally transport less air. That translates into 20,000 fewer freight vehicle trips in the Benelux countries each year which, in turn, is an important step in making the transportation of fruit and vegetables even more sustainable,” explains Dirk Vercammen, regional director at Euro Pool System.
According to Euro Pool System, the innovative design of the folding tray is well on its way to becoming the new standard in the European logistics sector. A simple mechanism enables these sturdy trays to fold or unfold, making them particularly suitable for automated systems.
The reusable trays have an average product lifespan of seven years. They are made of high-quality HDPE plastic and are 100 per cent recyclable. They also feature a unique barcode, enables them to be scanned upon arrival and departure, which in turn allows transport streams to be tracked and optimised.
Replacement throughout the Benelux
Euro Pool System’s blue containers have been used to transport fruit and vegetables since 1992. The company says the trays, which are washed and returned to growers after each rotation, provide a more sustainable alternative to cardboard or wooden trays.
“Now the next step is being taken to improve sustainability even further,” the company says. “There are currently millions of rigid, blue trays in circulation, all of which will be collected and recycled.
“This enormous operation will be completed in mid-2022 and fits into Euro Pool System’s strategy of making the entire fresh food supply chain in the Benelux countries more sustainable. The organisation is working on this with all its partners: from cooperatives and producers to wholesalers and retailers.”