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UK Food Supply Chain Uses Corrugated Packaging to Resolve Waste Issues

Image via Flickr by Jamie in Bytown

The United Kingdom faces many of the same challenges as food chain managers do in the United States, with their weather patterns. Due to unpredictable and widely fluctuating weather conditions, it is difficult to plan for packaging that will accommodate large, plump fruits and vegetables one year as well as shrunken, undersized produce the next. Corrugated packaging helps solve this problem and eliminate much of the wasted space other packaging allows. According to the organization WRAP, the packaging has helped decrease the food supply chain waste to 10 percent.

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There are additional benefits to corrugated packaging, such as its efficient packing capabilities, which allow more product to be loaded onto pallets. This factor saves money for the logistics industry. Corrugated packaging is also a cleaner method of packaging, because it undergoes high temperatures during the manufacturing and recycling processes, which kill bacteria. E coli and other common forborne illnesses cannot survive in corrugated packaging. 

This packaging is also more sustainable. Most of the old packages (an estimated 80 percent) are recycled, and the new packaging comes from forests which are well-managed in the United Kingdom. Proper forest management processes have increased the size of U.K.’s forest regions by 30 percent since 1950. 

Proper packaging does not just prevent food waste within the supply chain. Foods that are kept in the original packaging by the consumer after purchase also last longer, reducing the amount of fresh produce wasted by consumers each year. Some foods, such as cucumbers, last up to twice as long when kept in their original packaging by consumers compared to the produce, which is opened or transferred to another storage container. 

Corrugated packaging is the most common type of packaging used in the U.K. food supply chain. It has been in use for more than a century. [/show_to]

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