The study make a comparison between the three packaging systems (plastic, cardboard and wooden boxes) used in the five most important countries in fruit and greens production (Spain, Italy, France, Netherlands and Germany) and in four of the biggest purchasing markets (France, Netherlands, Great Britain and Germany).
The research done by the Fraunhofer Institute compares the effects on the environment of the different container systems, in five categories: eutrophisation (contribution to over-fertilisation); destruction of the ozone layer; formation of photo-oxidants; acidification (contribution to acid rain) and greenhouse effect.
In an overall sense, reusable plastic containers are the type which obtains the best results as compared with other kinds of disposable packaging items:
49% less potential for greenhouse gas missions.
33% less potential for reduction of ozone.
46% less potential for summer smog.
69% less acidification potential (contribution to acid rain).
78% less eutrophisation (contribution to overfertilisation).
In short, the system of reusable containers forms part of the European Union environmental strategy based on the “three Rs”: reduction (of CO2 emissions), reuse, recycling.