Safeway switches to reusable containers for shipping produce

Company eliminates use of more than 17 million pounds of corrugated boxes

Pleasanton-based Safeway Inc. has announced that it has switched to using reusable product containers rather than corrugated boxes to ship many types of produce from the farm fields.

This transition through its distribution channels and to final store destinations, which began last year, will eliminate the use of more than 17 million pounds of corrugated boxes, Safeway said.

Safeway 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, including 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.

Today, many types of produce travel from the field, to the distributor, to Safeway's product distribution centers and to the final store location in RPCs. The company's major supplier of RPCs, IFCO Systems, says Safeway's implementation of RPC usage to decrease waste was the fastest and most aggressive program roll-out to date.

Tom Nartker, Safeway's vice president of transportation, said employing environmentally friendly methods of product distribution is part of the company's overall commitment to sustainable business practices.

"This expansion into produce is a natural extension of best practices in logistics," Nartker said. "Safeway will continue to look for opportunities to expand the usage of RPCs into additional categories to have an even greater positive environmental impact."

The use of reusable, sustainable containers not only keeps non-recyclable shipping containers out of the supply chain, but it also has an even greater positive environmental impact. RPCs can be stacked higher and more densely than traditional boxes, allowing for more efficient shipping and requiring fewer trips to transport the same amount of product. This, in turn, decreases trucking emissions and traffic volume.

To date, the environmental benefits include:

Eliminated the use of over 17 million pounds of corrugated boxes;

Avoided the harvesting of approximately 114,000 trees; and,

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.

Safeway is among the country's leading companies to adopt environmental sustainability and ethical business practices.


Posted by Not an exclusive Safeway customer, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 27, 2012 at 11:53 am

Be sure to wash your produce now !!

Posted by Mort, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm

"Today, many types of produce travel from the field, to the distributor, to Safeway's product distribution centers and to the final store location in RPCs."

If produce aged well as a good Single Malt, I'd buy produce in grocery stores all the time.

But I think I'll continue getting it from the Farmer's Market.

Posted by Hot off the presses, a resident of California Reflections
on Jun 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Must be a slow news day.

Posted by Bob, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 29, 2012 at 10:19 am

I'm with you Mort. Might as well buy frozen vegetables. They probably retain more of the vitamins in the frozen form than when they sit for God knows how long from the time they are picked until they are in the shelves.

If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Understanding Early Decision in College Admissions
By Elizabeth LaScala | 1 comment | 2,304 views

New heights for NIMBYs
By Tim Hunt | 31 comments | 1,501 views

Weekly, TV30 to host Pleasanton mayoral, city council candidates' forum
By Gina Channell-Allen | 2 comments | 1,047 views

Earthquake Insurance
By Roz Rogoff | 4 comments | 813 views