Practices and packaging that help reduce food waste are excellent choices. However, diverting usable food to those in need before it becomes unusable is a best practice.
In late August, Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics hosted a virtual tour of the Produce Rescue Center, a collaboration between Dow and Montgomery County Food Bank (MCFB) in the Houston area. Dow sponsors the Produce Rescue Center.
The two organizations are collaborating to help the local Houston community by delivering fresh produce in the best possible condition to those in need.
Dow also provided MCFB with the equipment needed to wrap out-of-spec – but still edible and nutritious – produce that would have gone to a landfill. This keeps it fresh for longer, allowing the food bank to deliver higher quality food to more people over greater distances. Produce that isn’t edible is sent to a local composting facility instead of going to landfill, and the plastic packaging can be recycled via the Store Drop-Off program.
Packaging Digest learned that John Kreger at the Montgomery County Food Bank invited Dow to participate in the project and that the food bank pays for the films.
Those are “high-oxygen-transmission-rate polyethylene produce films,” discloses Larry Effler, Dow development scientist.
This permits a shelf-life extension such that a head of Romaine lettuce, for example, that typically lasts 5-6 days will stay edible for 20-25 days.
Interestingly, no gas-flush is used.
General Packaging Equipment of Houston designed and fabricated the sealing machine in conjunction with the Produce Rescue Center. The packaging machinery manufacturer has a history of helping the needy.