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The Greencoats are coming, and it could be revolutionary

Finding the right packaging to ensure produce arrives undamaged while also being cost-friendly is challenge, to be sure. Add in the desired factor of recyclability, and things can get really tough.LRG DSC00856-web

Rewind a few years ago, at a time when most produce was still being packed in non-recyclable packaging, retailers were beginning to ask if Northampton Growers could deliver its produce in a more sustainable option. At the time, the main product they were trying to convert to recyclable packaging was cabbage, which is a heavy item to pack and ship. Multiple recyclable, non-wax packaging products were tested, but none performed as needed.

Enter Greencoat, a coated recyclable box from DS Smith. At first the Northampton Growers’ team was skeptical as nothing else had worked, so would this be any different? 
Turns out it was different. The Greencoat team worked alongside Northampton and one of its customers to test that Greencoat would perform on the long journeys its produce often endured. They followed a shipment of cabbage from Georgia to Missouri and were thrilled to find the produce arrived in top condition. Northampton Growers transitioned all of its cabbage shipments to Greencoat and can now see its potential for use with other produce such as peppers and squash. Greencoat, now it ships more than 25 million boxes monthly.

“When we were starting this, we said, if you can get packaging that will withstand the weight for the same or better price, then growers will go for it,” said Calvert Cullen, sales and co-owner of Northampton Growers. “Greencoat has fulfilled all those requirements.”

From happy customers to cost savings, Northampton Growers has realized numerous benefits from its switch to Greencoat. Of course, sustainability is one of Greencoat’s major benefits. With each truckload of 770 wax-corrugated boxes, more than a ton of waste is sent to the landfill. Making the switch to Greencoat has eliminated this unnecessary waste and cost.

“When we entered the produce box industry years ago with Greencoat, we had the important goal of saving the farmer and the retailer money while preventing tons of wax boxes from hitting landfills,” said Jeff Cormier global sales manager for DS Smith, maker of Greencoat coated packaging.

By delivering what its customers asked for when no one else was making the effort, Northampton
has realized exceptional customer satisfaction. The purchasing department is happy when the produce arrives in fresh condition, the sustainability group is thrilled to have recyclable packaging and the financial team loves that they can actually make money from recycling instead of landfilling their packaging.

Northampton Growers took action and made a hard push to bring recyclable boxes to an industry that was just beginning to think about it. They were proactive in taking the risk to test various products and find one that would perform. They saw that Greencoat was viable and worked on all fronts — getting the product there and providing the retailers with recyclable packaging.