Belgian fresh cooperative Hoogstraten announced it has invested in a new life-cycle analysis (LCA) tool to measure the environmental impact of packaging from factory to shelf.
Hoogstraten is hoping to not only better understand its impact but also how it fits with sustainability credentials. The too can assess several factors, including materials, source, production method, use of water and energy, and the impact of transport. It is being managed by Hoogstraten’s operations manager Jeroen Swolfs, who is providing custom-made calculations both for the company’s own packaging and for different clients.
“If our clients are interested to learn more about the impact of different packaging materials, they are free to contact us to discuss a bespoke comparison between the different options,” Swolfs said. “We have already helped several clients in this way to make a decision between different packaging options and their related impact on the environment.”
Company officials said the LCA software features a user-friendly interface and is easy to operate, combining speed with robust calculations to enable businesses to assess the relative sustainability credentials of different packaging options.
The new development comes as part of a wide-ranging approach to reducing plastic packaging within Hoogstraten’s business. In 2021, the company sold 80% of its strawberries in cardboard, with the rest in r-PET, which helped reduce CO2 last year by 900 tonnes.
“The Hoogstraten punnet is made of 100% recycled material, and is recyclable, renewable and even if it ends up in nature, will biodegrade within months,” explained Jurgita Girzadiene, sustainability manager at packaging manufacturer Smurfit Kappa. “If a plastic punnet is not collected properly, it will stay on the planet for at least 500 years. In comparison, if a paper-based punnet ends up in nature, it will disappear without trace in less than one year. The best packaging might be no packaging, but the second best is sustainable packaging.”