Inside Logistics

La Colombe and Thermo King win reusable packaging awards

Winning submissions this year switched from single-use packaging to reusable products in very different market applications


La Colombe implemented Schoeller Allibert’s Combo Excelsior Hybrid IBCs

September 17, 2021
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La Colombe and Thermo King have both won awards from the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA). They received the recognition in the association’s annual Excellence in Reusable Packaging award program.

La Colombe won for their implementation of Schoeller Allibert’s Combo Excelsior Hybrid, a reusable intermediate bulk container (IBC), as supplied and serviced by Black Forest Container Systems for the transport of liquid products from manufacturing to bottling facilities.

Thermo King won for its adoption of reusable steel crates, flexible sleeves, and pallets, as supplied and serviced by Reusability, for distributing auxiliary power and transport refrigeration units from manufacturing to dealers and original equipment manufacturers.

Both winning submissions this year switched from single-use packaging to reusable products, although in very different market applications.

The award program recognizes commercial achievements with reusable transport packaging in the commercial marketplace. Applications are evaluated by an independent panel of judges and scored based on narration of the reuse opportunity, demonstration of business or economic improvements, and quantification of environmental impacts. 

La Colombe implemented Schoeller Allibert’s Combo Excelsior Hybrid IBCs in 2020 with Black Forest Container Systems as the pooler of the containers to create a closed loop system of reusable packaging with significant business and environmental benefits. The Combo Excelsior Hybrid IBC has an expected lifespan of 15 years.

Thermo King, a brand of Trane Technologies, replaced single-use wooden crates with a combined reusable packaging solution to help achieve their corporate initiative of zero waste to landfills by 2030 and other environmental objectives. 

“With this reusable packaging solution, we have realized nearly $1 million in annual savings on packaging,” said Bruce Day, plant manager for Thermo King’s Hastings, Nebraska, manufacturing facility.

“Adopting this reusable solution has eliminated the need to landfill packaging after use, reduced labor costs, created a safer environment for team members, and improved product protection.”

 The RPA Excellence in Reusable Packaging award is in its 10th year. Submissions are reviewed by an independent panel of judges who are not members of the Association. This year’s judges were: Rick LeBlanc, editor, Reusable Packaging News; Laszlo Horvath, associate professor and director, Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design at Virginia Tech; Michelle Fay, program manager, StopWaste; and, Ziynet Boz, assistant professor of Sustainable Food Systems Engineering, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida.