Case Study: Corrugated Bakery Crates

Colton Whitew Line

Brief

Innovation is baked into our DNA, so we’re always looking for new ways to think outside of the box and when it comes to how people approach their packaging. We recently turned our attention to bakery crates – which have historically been manufactured from polypropylene plastic.

These rigid crates are a staple for bakeries – used to transport bread, doughnuts and other baked goods to retailers. However plastic crates take up a lot of space and add significant weight to the vehicle transporting them – which in turns uses more fuel and increases the carbon footprint of each product. The green credentials of a plastic crate are of greater concern when you consider that each one has to not only be delivered, but also returned.

Plastic crates also require cleaning and maintenance, are commonly lost or stolen, offer limited brand promotion opportunities and are an off-the-shelf design with no ability to adapt them to suit different baked goods.

So with the environmental damage and logistical issues that come from manufacturing and using plastic crates, we asked ourselves the question, “can we make crates more sustainable for bakeries using corrugated cardboard?”. Our in-house CAD designers saw this as the perfect challenge to sink their teeth into, and got straight to work.

Solution

After plenty of experimentation and testing, our finished design perfectly solves a number of common problems faced by bakeries, including:

  • Removing the need to clean crates which in turn reduces workforce costs and collectively saves bakeries money, while still meeting required hygiene requirements
  • Creating flexible crate dimensions which can be adapted to suit specific business needs – including the ability to optimise crates externally to suit their method of transport and internally to align with the product. All of this ensures the optimum amount of product and increases the commercial return per journey
  • Allowing bakeries to include bespoke design and print on their crates such as their brand identity and campaignable messaging. The bespoke nature of these crates allows bakeries to drive brand awareness and impress both current and new customers with designs that look professional and innovative 
  • Removing the risk of crates becoming lost or stolen, with their single-use design meaning that once they have been used to transport products, customers can simply recycle and repurpose them – saving bakeries money on repurchasing expensive plastic crates post-transit
  • Becoming smarter with how products are transported, with the flexible crate design adaptable to the vehicles transporting them. This in turn reduces the number of deliveries required per week with no need for crate collections, dramatically reduces fuel costs and harmful emissions

The greener credentials around our new trays make for exciting reading, as the following numbers show:

 

Polypropylene Tray Corrugated Tray
Supply Chain Optimised 20% 60%
Recyclable 50% 100%
Planet Safe 0% 100%
Material Utilisation 99% 90%
Renewable Source 0% 100%
Recycled Content 0% 73%
Carbon Emissions per Tray 9,000g 236g

 

To put the carbon footprint savings into perspective, a corrugated crate saves 8.764kg of carbon over a usage of 470k. This is the same as 4,119,080 tonnes of Co2 per annum, which is the same as the greenhouse gas emissions produced from:

  • Heating 519 homes
  • Burning enough coal to power 22.7 railcars
  • Driving 10,559,463 miles in an average gasoline-powered car
  • Using 54.5 tanker trucks worth of gasoline
  • Powering 801 homes for a single year

It’s also the equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions avoided by:

  • Recycling 1,425 tons of waste rather than sending it to landfill
  • Running 1.1 wind turbines for a whole year
  • Switching 156,117 incandescent lamps to LED
  • Recycling 204 garbage trucks of waste rather than sending to landfill

Truly amazing numbers, with our crates proven to deliver a wide range of benefits for bakeries who are looking to think outside of the box and drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the supply chain.

Posted on: 10 June 2024
Posted in: Case Study

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