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Integrated reusable plastic crates and pallets, eliminating package waste, for sustainable distribution of everyday commodities in Europe. (Eurocrate)
Date du début: 1 janv. 2001, Date de fin: 31 déc. 2002 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

Background Annually approximately 280 million pallets are used for transportation of crates in Europe. According to some calculations this figure is much higher. Majority of the pallets are made of wood, have relatively short life span, thus, first, are source of waste of natural resources, secondly, the waste resulting from disposal of the pallets creates considerable workload on landfills, incineration installations. Increased environmental awareness calls for introduction of reusable crates and pallets, so called Reusable Transport Items (RTIs). This, however, leads to further problems because each type of RTI needs to be returned to the original supplier for cleaning, repair. Thus, a necessity to create an exchange system for RTI, common for the whole supply chain has been identified. Objectives Project objective was to perform full-scale demonstration of the functionality and effectiveness of the Reusable Transport Items (RTI) system. During two years the demonstration would be operated in the County of Skane and the region of Stockholm and two washing installations will be established. Apart from purely environmental objectives, the project aimed at achievement of business objectives as well, introducing cost efficient transportation method. The system was designed to fulfill the following set of criteria: - Reduction of energy consumption by 52 million kWh per year, - Decrease of lorry transports by 260 000 km annually, - Decrease of packaging waste by 25% or 28 000 tons per year, - Reduction of volume of damaged goods by at least 20%. - Decrease of transportation costs for the industry by 25%, - Decrease of total costs for the industry by 3.5 million euro annually. Results The project has achieved the established objectives only to a certain extent. Initially planned volumes and implementation schedule has been disrupted by the originally unforeseeable factors, such as industry resistance and for participating manufacturers and retailers - necessity to introduce budgetary modifications which were possible only for the following fiscal period from the start of the project activities. Within the project framework were established two washing facilities as planned, while the planned volume of crates and pallets reached only 24% of originally planned volume. Due to the previously mentioned reasons the project implementation was hold back a year compared to the original schedule. However, the beneficiary was convinced that within a year from the project end the activities will achieve the actual scale planned in the proposal. The beneficiary has achieved the objectives and goals initially planned in respect of environmental impacts and policy implementation measures. Specifically project has directly contributed to the implementation of Council Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste by reducing the packaging waste and introducing new innovative approach to retail packaging of grocery and other consumer products. The project activities by achieving efficient waste prevention and using recyclable materials also clearly fall within the description of the priority activities of the Sixth Environmental action plan: "waste prevention will be a key element of an integrated product policy approach. Further measures are needed to encourage recycling and recovery of wastes". Innovation element of the project is undisputable. For the first time an integrated management system of reusable transportation items has been implemented on a large scale, involving large number of producers and retailers. Effective cooperation scheme has been introduced. Furthermore, considering the free movement of goods within the EU countries, the suppliers of certain products (beverages) have been involved in the use of reusable transportation items and become active participants in the project. Established model of RTI has high demonstration value, active dissemination is conducted and the overall interest indicates high reproduction potential including countries non-EU members, but in EEC area. Locally the project has demonstrated good socio-economic effects: approximately 130 new jobs have been created, of which only 7 in the beneficiary office and 16 in the washing facilities, while the rest - by the participating suppliers and retailers. Upon the end of project on 31/12/2002 the activities have not been discontinued. As from the beginning the project was intended to achieve the full-scale demonstration volume and then actively continue and expand operations until it will reached commercial volumes. Currently the beneficiary company - Svenska Retursystem - efficiently carries out the operations and is planning further expansion in Sweden, including establishing new washing facilities already this year. For long-term evaluation project provides easy indicators - foremost, continuation of operations, statistical data of crates and pallets volumes, number of participating industries and retailers, turnover figures. . Two years after the CPR system was developed, Svenska Retursystem AB, Sweden, took the challenge of reducing packaging waste a step further and created an integrated logistics system not only for transporting produce, but for meat and poultry, dairy products and other everyday commodities. Thus the beneficiary met its project goals and its success continues: In the Skåne area, the Re-usable Transport Items (RTI) system has been operational since 2001 and was used mainly in the fruit and vegetable sectors. Wholesalers and distributors of canned beer joined later on. The system established in the Stockholm area duplicated the first one in Skåne and added to its clients meat and poultry distributors, as well as dairy product distributors. Source: LIFE Focus: “A Cleaner, greener Europe” (2004)