Sainsbury’s and Schoeller Allibert work together to develop industry first

Sainsbury’s is recycling its legacy crates into more efficient crate types made from 100% recycled polypropylene (PP) plastic. This transformation to a more efficient crate type will significantly reduce empty crate transport and drive efficiency throughout the chain.

The crates, recycled for Sainsbury’s by Schoeller Allibert, are the first in the UK to be 100% recycled material and meet the European Food Safety Authority standards.

How does it work?

  • Old inefficient crates are ground down into plastic flakes, which are washed and dried
  • This plastic is used to form new 100% recycled food-safe crates by Schoeller Allibert – an industry first
  • Recycling the legacy crates means Sainsbury’s have a fully harmonised crate pool
  • This drives transport efficiencies throughout the chain

The process produces minimal waste, creating a sustainable packaging cycle.

Simon Stokoe, Senior Strategy Manager of Sainsbury’s supply chain said: “This piece of work was not only about making the right decision for Sainsbury’s from an efficiency perspective - it was also about making sure we did it sustainably. A win-win.”

2 million crates will be recycled. Historically, 100 % recycled polymer had not been used for crates with direct food contact.

Simon Moulson, Head of Retail Sales for Schoeller Allibert said: “Schoeller Allibert’s EFSA-approved recycling and remolding process has been developed to help retailers meet increasing stringent sustainability targets as well as strict food safety and hygiene standards.”

Recycling their legacy crate pool allows Sainsbury’s to:

  • Have a fully inter-stacking crate pool, improving ease of operation in stores and depots
  • Provide the right crates to suppliers, improving crate fill and pallet fill, creating transport efficiencies and maximising the transport of empty crates to suppliers

The products molded from recycled material are fully compliant with Article 4 of the EU Regulation 282/2008, providing Sainsbury’s customers with a guarantee of safety and suitability for food contact.

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