IFCO's reusable plastic containers (RPCs) produce 31% less CO² than cardboard boxes used to transport fresh produce, according to a new lifecycle analysis (LCA) study by Franklin Associates.
The study found that RPCs are more environmentally sustainable than corrugated boxes in seven major categories.
The plastic containers produce 85% less solid waste, consume 65% less water, and require 34% less energy than corrugated boxes.
RPCs were also shown to contribute significantly less to environmental pollution, with 72% lower eutrophication, 51% lower ozone depletion and 48% lower acidification.
IFCO North America president Daniel Walsh said: "These results clearly show RPCs are the intelligent choice of growers, retailers and food processors that share our goal of an environmentally sustainable food production system."
During the study, Franklin evaluated environmental performance factors for RPCs, display-ready corrugated fibre containers (DRCs) and non-display-ready corrugated fibre containers (NDCs).
The company also evaluated the entire lifecycle of each packaging system, from raw material extraction to disposal.
Results from the study were peer-reviewed by packaging experts at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan, US.
IFCO is a global provider of reusable packaging solutions, supplying RPCs in 37 countries.