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Dole Fresh Vegetables, a division of Dole Food Co., announced a new long- term contract with CHEP, a leading pallet and container pooling company, that calls for Dole to continue shipping the majority of its products on Chep pallets from its 12 facilities in California, Arizona, North Carolina and Ohio to major supermarket retailers, clubstores, foodservice distributors and wholesalers in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Prior to joining the Chep pallet program in 2006, Dole Fresh used limited-use pallets and determined that the practice was inefficient and costly. During the past three years, the company has concluded that the Chep solution is more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than other alternatives. "Dole takes its corporate social responsibilities very seriously and routinely deploys solutions like the Chep pallet pool to reduce the impact our operations have on the environment," Bruce Hungate, director of purchasing for Dole Fresh Vegetables, said in a press release.

Based on third-party life-cycle inventory analysis findings, Dole Fresh will reduce solid waste generation by more than 18 million pounds this year, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 58 percent through its use of the CHEP pooling system as opposed to limited-use whitewood pallets.

"Chep is pleased to continue providing Dole Fresh with operating efficiencies, as well as the opportunity to significantly reduce their waste stream and greenhouse gas emissions," Tim Smith, vice president of new business development for Chep USA, said in the press release.