Food banks and nonprofit organizations across South Carolina, Georgia and Florida have received more than 385,000 containers of fruit and vegetables, shipped in 100% recyclable Greencoat boxes produced at the local DS Smith plant for Atlanta-based Collins Brothers Produce. The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded Collins Brothers Produce an $8 million contract under the Farmers-to-Families Food Box program, set up to help growers, distributors and others facing economic strain amid the coronavirus pandemic. Reflecting the food industry’s ever-growing push for more recycling efforts, DS Smith, a packaging company with sustainability at its core, was seen as the ideal partner to provide its signature Greencoat boxes to support the program.
“With sustainability in mind the USDA wanted to steer away from the use of traditional wax packaging which cannot be recycled and will ultimately end up in a landfill,” said David Collins, owner of Collins Brothers Produce. “Greencoat packaging is 100% recyclable, and is the perfect solution for shipping the food boxes, and it’s very effective at keeping moisture out and maintaining strength throughout the supply chain – a tough requirement in the Deep South.”
DS Smith’s Greencoat is a coated, water-resistant packaging solution that provides the same performance characteristics as wax boxes but is 100% recyclable. Today, Greencoat has completely changed the way cold and wet products are packed and shipped and is successfully used in the poultry, produce and seafood industries. DS Smith will have supplied over 750,000 boxes to Collins Brothers Produce for the Farmers to Families program at the completion of phase 2 of the program, which began on July 1. One Greencoat box, filled with a mix of apples, oranges, potatoes, onions, cabbage, zucchini, peaches and cucumbers, provides enough fruits and vegetables to feed a family of four for a week.
“DS Smith has always been an active community partner, and we’ve been able to provide sustainable, recyclable boxes to transport nutritious fruits and vegetables to our friends and neighbors in a time when they need it most,” said Troy Hagenbuch, Specialty Business Unit general manager at DS Smith North America. “Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been deemed an essential business, remaining operational and supporting our customers and communities, and quickly changing our product mix to package products.”
The spirit of private sector ingenuity exemplified by companies like DS Smith and Preferred Pack will be key to uplifting communities still struggling as a result of the pandemic. From cutting production and landfill costs with sustainable Greencoat packaging to providing nutritious produce to families across the South, DS Smith and Preferred Pack are doing their part to support their communities and the rebounding economy.