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William Reynolds cuts packaging waste with returnable crate scheme

The UK’s leading fresh fruit and vegetable supplier to the restaurant and catering industry has implemented a reusable transit packaging (RTP) crate scheme with Schoeller Allibert, to reduce waste and keep produce fresh. Reynolds estimates that, as a result, over the last year it has sent out 750,000 fewer cardboard and wooden boxes to customers and saved hundreds of tonnes of cardboard and paper.

Originating in 1945 when William Reynolds first opened his market stall, Reynolds now supplies more than 2,500 varieties of fresh and chilled produce to some of the most famous names in food service, with 194 delivery vehicles being dispatched each day.

Reynolds took the decision to move away from single trip cardboard packaging to a returnable crate scheme with Schoeller Allibert. So far, over 1,000 customers have switched to deliveries with the Maxinest crates, which have an average lifetime Product Carbon Footprint of just 26 kgCO2e for each crate, 68% less than cardboard.

Glen Collins from Reynolds explains: "At Reynolds we take our responsibility to the environment very seriously. The reusable crate scheme is just one of a number of measures we have taken, including the use of efficient vehicles and high levels of recycling.

"The food service industry uses millions of cardboard and wooden boxes for delivering fresh produce to customers and we all need to take responsibility for reducing this. By implementing this scheme with Schoeller Allibert, we have already saved hundreds of tonnes of cardboard each year and now use around 80,000 Maxinest trays. These are washed between uses with a state of the art system designed to ensure the most efficient and therefore, environmentally friendly use of water. Because they are stackable containers, the Maxinests also help to ensure we are optimising vehicle fill for efficient use of our delivery vehicles."

Reynolds prides itself on the freshness of its produce and offers full temperature control from farm to kitchen. In addition to reducing cardboard waste, using the Maxinest containers helps to improve product cooling, as well as protecting produce in transit.

Simon Knights, Regional Sales Director for the UK from Schoeller Allibert, explains: "When fruit and vegetables are harvested they start to deteriorate immediately so speed is of the essence. If they are packaged in cardboard or solid wood or plastic crates, the lack of air circulation speeds up this deterioration rapidly. One of the overarching benefits of the Maxinest is that because of the way it is shaped and stacked, product cooling and ventilation is much improved. For example when a cardboard box is filled with fresh produce, it is then sealed so there is no air movement. The holes in the Maxinest allow air to circulate and improve cooling. It also offers the protection that is needed for soft fruit and vegetables."

Schoeller Allibert developed the stackable Maxinest tray to offer a cost-effective way of delivering fresh produce, which was specifically designed to meet the food processing and grocery industry’s strict requirements for quality, durability and care for the environment. The Maxinest range has evolved with the changing needs of the grocery industry and now has twenty variations. Reynolds is using the new Maxinest Plus+ conveyor based version of the Maxinest which has a reinforced base designed for quiet, smooth operation on all conveyor types and a host of features that enable it to work seamlessly with the latest automated filling, weighing and handling equipment.

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