Retailer favours the plastic

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Iceland has abandoned using cardboard cartons in its fresh food supply chain, preferring to use plastic crates instead. The company has awarded a five-year deal to Hays Logistics to manage the new initiative which is expected to result in reduced environmental impact and operational costs while improving protection and presentation.

It also contributes to improvements through adoption of the latest Efficient Customer Response (ECR) techniques.

Karl Martin, buying director at Iceland, explains: “Crates represent an excellent opportunity for Iceland on fresh meat and poultry. We expect this initiative to improve the quality of product in store for the Iceland customer; in turn driving sales on this category. Crates will also reduce the amount of cardboard and plastic waste returned from the stores – we believe that returnable transit packaging provides significant environmental benefits.”

The crates are tracked through a supply chain loop – from supplier to Iceland distribution centres, through to stores, to recovery and recycling sites and back to suppliers – by Hays using a web-based system. The movement of crates could ultimately amount to seven million despatches a year.

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