We test new types of packaging materials. As we create and implement new packaging, we assess its environmental impact. By managing forest programs in company-owned lands in Costa Rica, we are able to supply a portion of our demand for pallets used in our operations. Also where possible, working with specific retail partners in the US and with the CHEP Pallet Program in Guatemala and Costa Rica, Del Monte is contributing to minimizing environmental impacts by utilizing recycled pallets to distribute its products. In the Asia Pacific region, returnable plastic containers (RPCs) used for the distribution and sale of our fresh products, is another successful sustainable program aimed at optimizing repeated use of packaging.
Sustainable Pallet Production
As part of our managed forest programs, company-owned areas in Costa Rica classified as unsuitable for agriculture have been planted with Gmelina trees, a fast-growing deciduous tropical tree, recommended as one of the best utility timbers in the tropics for general carpentry, light construction and packaging. A continuous cycle of harvesting, replanting and forest maintenance is done in the approximately 2000 hectares that comprises Del Monte’s managed forest programs, distributed in several farms in the Atlantic region of the country.
Five years after planting Gmelina trees, lumber is harvested to produce wooden pallets. With a yield of around 1,030 pallets per hectare, per five years, this project demonstrates sustainability practices. Forest trees are not cut down indiscriminately, and protected forest areas are not used for the production of pallets in our operations. Harvested areas are replanted following our forest management practices.
Pallets are repaired and reused at our facilities and production sites worldwide. In the Philippines, damaged pallets are recycled and made into cabinets, chairs, benches and tables.
CHEP Pallet Program
The CHEP pallet program in Costa Rica and Guatemala allows for the use of returnable pallets. The combined impact generated by the re-use of over 1 million CHEP pallets equates to as if 22,786 trees were planted over ten years. This system also reduces energy used by 19% and reduces waste by 50%.CHEP has the global target of sourcing 100% lumber for pallets from certified forests.
Use of Returnable Plastic Containers
Where possible, working with specific retail partners in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, we use reusable plastic containers (RPCs) in the distribution and sale of our products. Del Monte also uses RPCs to supply pineapples to our fresh cut facility in Japan.