PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway has transitioned to using reusable product containers (RPCs), rather than corrugated boxes, to ship many types of produce from the farm fields, through the distribution channel and to final store destination. This transition eliminated the use of over 17 million pounds of corrugated boxes.
Safeway said it has used RPCs for decades on many of its consumer brand categories, including bread, milk and soda. The company began testing RPCs in its distribution system for fresh wet-pack produce — fruits and vegetables kept on ice until they reach the store — in early 2010.
Making the transition for produce was a more complicated process than for other products because, to make it effective and decrease cardboard usage, Safeway's distributors and grower partners also had to commit to the switch. The transition continued throughout 2011.
"This expansion into produce is a natural extension of best practices in logistics," said Mr. Nartker. "Safeway will continue to look for opportunities to expand the usage of RPCs into additional categories to have an even greater positive environmental impact."
According to Safeway, RPCs have a number of other environmental benefits to date including:
Eliminated the use of over 17 million pounds of corrugated boxes.
Avoided the harvesting of approximately 114,000 trees.
Reduced emissions of 37,518 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2E) from the environment, equivalent to removing 6,872 passenger cars off the road.