5 years ago



Figure 4 – Undulated

Figure 4 – Undulated Cardboard Box Source: Castro (1999) Besides offering greater durability, resistance and permitting palletizing, plastic boxes (Figure 5) also contribute towards reducing horticulture waste since they have better finishing (no edges that can damage the product, easy to wash and sterilize, and since they do not absorb water, hamper the proliferation of microorganisms). Since they can be reused, their purchase cost can be amortized over their useful life. Although they are more expensive, they provide long-term benefits. The supermarkets and large retailers are normally the ones who buy the plastic boxes and rent them to producers, using an exchange system that is identical to beer bottles. Tests run by Embrapa Hortaliças, in Brasília, show that plastic boxes, specific for horticulture, reduced after-harvest losses by up to 17%. 18

Figure 5 – Plastic Boxes Source: Silva (2006) The packages can be classified as reusable, returnable and disposable. If we consider product quality and hygiene, as well as consumer health, we can conclude that reusable boxes are the biggest problem. If we consider market administration, the priority should be returnable packages. Table 4 highlights the main characteristics of the types of existing boxes currently in the horticulture market. 19

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