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AU: New pattern of pallet wrapping is helping reduce plastic wasteA new form of pallet wrapping is not only helping to improve load stability, but also reduce the plastic wastage that can cause environmental issues, according to packaging company Propak Industries.
The Butterfly wrap is a pattern that is applied by machine, to help address issues getting produce to the major supermarket distribution centres, which has introduced a new crate system over the past 18 months.
"There was a load stability issue where the crates were moving when they were wrapped in tape or other wrapping," Garry Sandercock said. "So we worked on a program in our Propak MAS-350 and MAS-500 wrapping machines to apply a Butterfly wrap automatically without increasing labour costs to the grower and reducing the amount of film that they put on, and maximising stability. We found that we can reduce the amount of packaging that they use around the pallet and still give them a good stability and ventilation that's required."
Photo: the Propak Industries MAS-500 wrapping machine
Mr Sandercock says the main advantage is that it reduces the amount of stretch film or ventilated film used by leaving gaps to increase airflow, without condensation or sweating.
"It's a big environmental plus," he said. "It's a huge attraction. Our customers are aware of the impact, as everyone is, and our company is focused on environmental benefits which coincide with savings for the customer, basically from crop to gate. If we can reduce their cost of getting their produce to market and also reduce the waste. It's a benefit to the grower and consumer."
The Butterfly wrap is now being used on a range of different produce items, which Mr Sandercock says is expanding all the time.
"We are now doing bananas - that's in cartons with a particular banana wrap," he said. "We are doing it for tomatoes, we are doing it for citrus, and we are doing it for different types of lettuces, salads, avocados. Mangoes will see it more this year, as the main season will come into Darwin and then North Queensland. So we will be doing more work with mangoes."
Mr Sandercock adds that there are already plans to expand into the New Zealand market, with interest from major supermarket chain, Countdown.
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