Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle  Watch Video

Efficiency in the supply chain is more important now than ever. A collective tightening of the belts among American consumers means growers and retailers are being challenged to find ways to ease price burdens on consumers — not an easy task. On top of that, increasing environmental concerns mean sustainability is top of mind for an increasing number of Americans, too. “Current market conditions are causing everyone to more closely examine their supply chain and seek ways in which they can extract additional value,” says Ian Neeland, whose Australia-based company, Trans.L Systems, helps growers and retailers implement reusable transport packaging (RTP) systems.

Trans.L Systems currently has operations in Australia, Asia, and most recently, the U.S. In his role as CEO, Neeland’s goal is to help supply chain owners convert from fiberboard/corrugate to returnable supply chains through the use of RTP. “I am convinced of the benefits of reusable plastic crates (RPCs) in improving product quality, reducing reverse logistics costs, and lowering environmental impact,” he says.

How It Works

As a supply chain logistics expert for packaging, Trans.L Systems objectively analyzes its customers’ supply chains to identify opportunities for achieving better returns, then designs a supply chain transformation based on the findings. “The adoption of reusable packaging throughout the fresh produce supply chain is considerably higher in Australia (60%) compared to the U.S. (12%),” says Neeland. But Trans.L’s recent opening of a U.S. office in San Francisco — close to key fresh produce regions in the state — means the company will now be able to bring the technology to North America.

Goals Of Trans.L Systems

There are three goals Trans.L Systems is currently working to achieve. They include:

1. Developing business cases and feasibility studies with retailers and food manufacturers to enable them to assess the benefits and pathway to conversion. Closed loops are the preferred model, but the ownership and management can be under a number of scenarios, including relationships with existing pool operators.

2. Procuring the best technology, including equipment and systems from alliance partners to convert supply chains to reusable transport packaging.

3. Upon implementation, supporting the management of the closed loop by recommending systems and training managers.

“Our company has a strong track record in working with retailers to design returnable supply chains for their fresh food procurement programs. We also bring automation to assist the handling of reusable packaging in wash plants and the packing operations of grower shippers and food processors,” Neeland says. “This automation reduces the costs and improves the safety of reusable transport packaging. Until now, the automation piece has been lacking in the U.S. market.”

He adds that the supermarkets in Australia really have taken the lead. Chains like Coles, Woolworths, and Aldi, which together control 70% of fresh produce sales, all have embraced the benefits of RPCs.

Life Cycle Analysis

One of Trans.L Systems’ clients is leading Australian retailer Coles Supermarkets, which operates more than 700 stores with 450 fresh produce suppliers. In 2006, Neeland, as a produce executive for Coles, was responsible for implementing the company’s conversion to reusable transport packaging, during which a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) was performed. The project compared the environmental impact prior to and after conversion from fiberboard to RPCs. “The LCA proved that RPCs have 85% less impact on the environment,” says Neeland. He believes there’s a lot of potential for similar benefits — in efficiency and freshness — in the U.S., too.

“We can show that RTPs such as returnable plastic crates and larger returnable merchandise units are a cost effective way to ensure enhanced freshness and quality,” Neeland says. “They can also achieve significant green benefits, including reduced water use and fewer carbon emissions. Supermarkets, quick service restaurant chains, growers, and distributors big and small can achieve the same significant rewards when they integrate RTPs into the supply chain.”

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

All Vegetables Stories >All Fruits Stories >All Nuts Stories >All Citrus Stories >

The Latest

Apples & PearsBig Apple Crop Expected
September 2, 2014
Generally high quality predicted at U.S. Apple Association Crop Outlook and Marketing Conference. Read More
Apples & PearsBeware Of Fruit Rots During Apple Harvest
September 2, 2014
Conditions lately have been ripe for fungi fiasco. Read More
Apples & PearsThey’re Back! 2014 Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Populat…
September 2, 2014
Pressure building as traps filling up with pest by the hundreds. Read More
Farm ManagementStudy Shows ‘Megadrought’ On The Radar For …
September 2, 2014
Global warming trends fuel parched prediction from scientists. Read More
Farm ManagementTrimble’s Connected Farm Now Includes Field Data Mana…
September 2, 2014
Trimble adds two apps that work with their Connected Farm Web-based solution, providing growers and their advisors with more detailed field information. Read More
FruitsTips To Help You Manage Postharvest Ripening
September 2, 2014
Humidity, ethylene, and temperature can all impact fruit quality. Read More
CitrusHarness The Marketing Power Of Video
September 1, 2014
Multimedia platform is an effective and inexpensive marketing tool for you to attract new customers and keep existing ones loyal to your brand. Read More
Citrus Achievement AwardDespite Industry Challenges, Florida Citrus Leader Has …
September 1, 2014
2014 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award winner Mike Sparks feels confident in crop sector's ability to regain strength. Read More
Florida Ag ExpoFood Safety Modernization Act Is On The Plate
September 1, 2014
Florida Ag Expo agenda to serve up important features of looming regulations. Read More
CEU SeriesCEU Series: Put Weeds Out To Pasture
September 1, 2014
No matter where they are, plants out of place can be problematic. Read More
TomatoesProduction Reaches An All-Time High For Processing Toma…
August 29, 2014
A record high is predicted for the 2014 processing tomato crop. Read More
CitrusFlorida Department Of Citrus Knocks NPR Piece Over Juic…
August 28, 2014
Agency goes to bat for the industry regarding statement slighting OJ's health benefits. Read More
Disease ControlLate Blight Update Reveals Heightened Activity
August 28, 2014
While several states in the Northeast have confirmed the presence of late blight, the disease has not been reported in North Dakota or Minnesota. Read More
CitrusFlorida Energy Firm Charged Up About Citrus Biomass Pot…
August 28, 2014
Machine called a game-changer when it comes to a cost-effective, efficient way for tree removal and re-purposing. Read More
EquipmentNew Tractors Improve Maneuverability And Operator Contr…
August 28, 2014
The Magnum Rowtrac tractors from Case IH meet growers’ cropping needs through a wide variety of row spacing and belt options.   Read More
NutsCalifornia County Passes Ordinance To Protect Walnut Gr…
August 27, 2014
Verification of ownership needed to complete sales of valuable nuts. Read More
NutsAlmond Growers Hit By Russian Import Limits
August 27, 2014
Growers reflect on changes to export market in light of produce ban. Read More
Farm ManagementLeadership And Management Expert To Speak At California…
August 27, 2014
Daniel Goleman will make presentation at California State University-Fresno. Read More