A technical and environmental evaluation of implementation of the bulk container to the distribution of fresh Japanese radish and cabbage in Japan
There is a strong demand to reduce cost and environmental load (e.g., energy consumption and greenhouse gas, GHG, emission) caused by the distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables in Japan. More than 90% of fresh fruits and vegetables are distributed by using corrugated fiberboard box (CFB) in Japan. CFBs are typically designed for a single use and are then recycled for new CFB manufacturing. In this study, therefore, we propose the use of reusable large size bulk container for the distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables instead of CFB aiming to reduce cost and environmental load. The requirements and the effects of the use of newly developed bulk container are reported for vibration damage in Japanese radish (Daikon) and for impact stress in cabbage. Symptoms of vibration damage differed depending on the product layer in the bulk container. Under the bulk container simulation test, evaluation of physiological attributes and physical damage of cabbage suggested that the maximum dropping height of cabbage should be limited less than 40 cm (preferably 20 cm) and 10 cm against flat floor and protuberance, respectively. Life cycle assessment results show the possibility to use the bulk container for the distribution of fresh produce with a considerable reduction of cost (39-71% depending on the commodity) and GHG reduction (31-41% depending on the number of reuses of the packaging materials for Daikon).
Shiina, T., Thammawong, M., Nakamura, N., Kaneta, T. and Orikasa, T. (2016). A technical and environmental evaluation of implementation of the bulk container to the distribution of fresh Japanese radish and cabbage in Japan. Acta Hortic. 1120, 285-292
bulk container, physical damage, stress response, cost, GHG emission