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Why RTP has a promising future

Jim Hardisty, MD of – The Responsible Plastic Pallet Company – explains why increasing environmental concerns in the food and drink sector points to a promising future for reusable transit packaging.

According to the World Economic Forum only 14% of plastic packaging is recycled, resulting in a loss of $80 billion to $120 billion per year to the global economy. The culprit here is single-use packaging which, until recently, was favoured by consumers for its convenience and by manufacturers alike for its ability to reduce shipping costs.

Where demand for conveniently packaged food continues today, the negative media coverage on plastics pollution that has escalated in the last two years has led to consumers having increasing sustainability concerns. Consumers changing buying behaviours is evidence of this.

Two years ago, few consumers would have thought twice about buying a single-use plastic water bottle, yet today, more and more of us are opting for reusable plastic water bottles as we are more conscious of how our purchasing decisions are impacting on the environment.

The same applies to manufacturers and their buying behaviours. By exchanging the disposable pallets, boxes and shipping containers that enter the factory floor daily with reusable transit packaging, manufacturers are investing in a more environmentally-friendly solution that offers multiple benefits.

Let’s take plastic containers for transporting fresh produce as an example. Firstly, they reduce – and sometimes eliminate – the need for additional ‘waste’ packaging, like apples that come in plastic bags or broccoli that is shrink wrapped, as plastic containers can be repeatedly washed, ensuring they remain contaminant-free. Secondly, reusable plastic boxes are much more durable than corrugated cardboard boxes, which helps prevent soft produce from getting crushed, both during handling and when stacked in storage. Thirdly, plastic containers with a ventilated base and side walls allow for additional airflow that can prolong the life of fresh produce and delay mould growth. Lastly, many plastic containers can be recycled at the end of their long working life, meaning that the plastic can be reground and used to produce the next wave of sustainable plastic containers.

Educating customers to reuse and recycle their plastic pallets and containers is something we have been focusing on wholeheartedly in the last couple of years. Now 15 months since launching our plastic pallet recycling scheme, we have recycled more than 302 tonnes of customers’ plastic waste and helped them overcome some of their recycling challenges along the way.

Food ingredients specialist champions plastic pallet recycling scheme

EDME Food Ingredients, who specialises in creating natural flours, mixes and grains for the bakery sector, is a prime example.

Plastic pallets are well known for their durability and long life span, yet when they eventually come to the end of their long service life, disposing of them can be a challenge for some businesses. This situation was very familiar to EDME, until they found out last year about our plastic pallet recycling scheme.

EDME started using plastic pallets some nine years ago when they placed their first order for our recycled polypropylene Qpall 1210 HR 5R pallets. They use these strong, heavy duty plastic pallets for the storage and distribution of their food ingredients, since the majority of their customers request that their goods are delivered only on plastic pallets.

Once the customer receives and unloads its consignment, EDME collects the empty plastic pallets and returns them to its warehouse, ready for reuse, and repeats the cycle. However, when the plastic pallets were reaching the end of their service life, EDME was having varying degrees of success disposing of them. In some instances, they were giving them away or having to pay for their disposal. That is until they heard about our pioneering plastic pallet recycling scheme that guarantees to retrieve and recycle every plastic pallet, and box, we supply to our customers.

Lynne Smith, Transport Manager for EDME Food Ingredients, said: “In March last year, we were able to use this recycling scheme for the first time where we returned our expired plastic pallets to This is a terrific service and we are fully supportive of the scheme.

“Previous to this, retired plastic pallets were a challenge to dispose of and in some cases, we were paying to dispose of them. With this scheme not only are we confident that any expired plastic pallets are being managed in a responsible manner, but we get a reasonable recompense for them. This is a scheme that I am happy to be part of and will continue to be part of.”

For advice on selected the best RTP solution for your needs, call on 01323 744057 or email the team at