FEDEMCO, the Federación española del Envase de Madera y sus Componentes (Spanish Federation of Wooden Light Weight Packaging and Their Components), is a collective of manufacturers of wooden containers for fruit, vegetables and other foods, as well as pallets, boxes, and other wooden packaging formats.
Founded in 1991 and headquartered in Valencia, the group has long championed sustainability as being at the core of its operations, with all its boxes produced from 100% recyclable materials.
Now, with sustainability increasingly on the agenda for retailers, manufacturers and consumers, FEDEMCO – along with the European Panel Federation (EPF), its Brussels-based pan-EU equivalent – is seeking to actively engage with businesses, governments and NGOs on the benefits of using – and reusing – wood as a packaging source.
Durable And Resistant
“Wooden boxes are durable, resistant, and can tolerate both humid and cool conditions,” Enrique Soler Segrelles, FEDEMCO president, tells ESM. “They are particularly popular in Germany, France, Italy and the United States, and with more consumers demanding greater sustainability, they are becoming more important in other markets.”
As FEDEMCO explains, as well as offering durability, wood is one of the best-possible materials to use from a sustainability perspective, boasting a low water footprint, while, for every tree that is felled, eight more are planted, ensuring a continuous supply of base material.
The carbon-dioxide footprint of the process is negative – in other words, CO2 is absorbed from the atmosphere when producing wooden packaging.
The standardisation of formats within fruit-and-vegetable packaging also enables wood-based formats to be mixed with other packaging, with no reduction in pallet sustainability.
In addition, once used, the wood can be recycled into particleboard, ensuring that a circular economy can be maintained.
“It’s a positive message,” says Artur Vélez, FEDEMCO’s vice-president. “We work closely with our community partners, and with other partners in the value chain, to ensure that when a wooden box has reached its end of life, it can be reintroduced into the market as particleboard.”
Ease Of Recycling
A new recycling directive being implemented by the European Union should also make it easier for consumers to understand how to recycle wooden boxes and harmonise existing legislation.
“In Spain, France and Germany, our boxes can be thrown into the green or yellow recycling bin, no problem,” says Vélez. “An issue we encounter is that in some markets, people don’t know what to do with our boxes, so that is one of our communication objectives in the medium term.”
As well as enhancing the sustainability of packaging, wood also adds authenticity and added value to product presentation – a step up from plastic boxes, both aesthetically and economically.
“When it comes to transporting fruit, for example, using wooden boxes means you don’t have any problems with product damage, you don’t have any problems with humidity, and when the products arrive in store, they are exactly how the retailer and the consumer wants them,” says Vélez, “and it’s not just fresh produce – we are seeing wooden boxes being used for things like lasagnes and ready meals, so there are plenty of opportunities out there.”
For more information, visit www.fedemco.com.