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New way of packaging fruit allows Dole Exotics to save nearly 20,000 pounds of plastic per year

Dole Exotics, a supplier of premium mangoes and avocados, has had new boxes and trays designed to transport and present their fruit. Using sustainable FSC certified cardboard instead of plastic can result in an annual reduction of 20.000 kilo’s of plastic if all customers participate. Smart solutions were also used in the design of the printing on the boxes to allow the package to be reused.

Sustainable boxes

Annually, Dole Exotics uses about 560,000 packing sheets. This is the dented sheet that lies underneath the fruit when it is packed in a box. Each packing sheet weighs about 15 grams, which equals a potential reduction of about 8,400 kilograms of plastic per year. Moreover, these packing sheets are usually discarded by retailers and other buyers. In the new box, these packing sheets are made of sustainable FSC-certified cardboard to get a second life as waste paper. 

smart design

The printing of the box makes a further contribution to reducing waste. The design shows a print with mangoes on one side and one with avocados on the other . That way a retailer can use the box for both, reducing the likelihood of them ending up in the trash too soon. A clever printed tip inside, facing the customers in the store, explains the best way to eat a mango or avocado. 

Reduction oftotal amount of plastic ending up in the oceans every minute

The new trays to pack and present smaller quantities of fruit are also made of sturdy and sustainable cardboard. In 2020, 11,260,000 trays were used, which, in plastic, weigh about 10 grams. Therefore, the cardboard alternative contributes to a further possible plastic reduction of some 11,260 kilograms bringing the total number to 19,660 kilograms of plastic saved. That is equal to the amount of plastic that ends up in the oceans every minute.

Dole Exotics is exploring other ways to reduce the amount of plastic used. For example, they recently tested a thinner cover film. This particular type is a lot thinner than the current type used. With almost 4 million meters used in 2020, this new film could potentially contribute to an additional reduction of 16.5%.