A pioneer in the circular economy
Svenska Retursystem’s basic idea is innovative in all its simplicity. We offer a system for the food industry's supply chain based on shared pallets and crates that can be used over and over again. The pallets and crates are produced in durable and recyclable plastic and have a lifespan of 15 years on average. We take care of them carefully and when our crates are no longer usable, we grind the plastic into granules that become new crates. The plastic from discarded pallets is recycled and turned into new products.
We work sustainably in all dimensions, in all decisions and in all processes in the company. One of our main goals is to reduce the food industry's climate impact.
TOGETHER WE MAKE THE FOOD INDUSTRY SUSTAINABLE
Life cycle analysis - crates
A life cycle analysis from 2016 shows that CO2e emissions are reduced by 78 percent when a user chooses to transport their goods in our crates instead of disposable packaging. For each round trip within Sweden, the CO2 saving is 219 grams per box. SRS delivers more than 500,000 crates a day. This means a daily reduction of emissions by just over 100 tonnes.
The life cycle analysis was developed by master's students from the civil engineering program at Linköping University in 2016. RISE (Research Institute of Sweden AB) has reviewed and verified the implementation of the analysis and it correspond to the ISO standard for LCA.
Life cycle analysis - pallets
A comparison between the life cycle analysis of our pallets and wood made EUR pallets in the food industry shows that our pallets produce lower carbon dioxide emissions. Depending on which method of life cycle analysis you choose, the results of the carbon dioxide reduction look a little different. This is because you can look at the combustion of wood raw material in different ways. We have chosen to be cautious and calculate our carbon dioxide savings according to the traditional LCA method, which shows that our Grey full-size pallet produces 10 percent lower carbon dioxide emissions compared to the corresponding wooden pallet.
For every round that a Grey full-size pallet makes, the industry saves 74 grams of C02. If you instead compare the pallets according to the newer GWPbio method, our pallets produce 61 percent lower emissions. In GWPbio, time aspects and nature's absorption of CO2 are taken into account.
Our crates and pallets have a lifespan of 15 years. The pallets are used on average over 100 times and the crates 150 times.
When a crate can no longer be repaired, we grind the plastic down into granules to use in the manufacture of new crates.
Discarded pallets are recycled into new plastic products.
Our pallets that go into Systembolaget's pooling loop are made from 100 percent recycled plastic.
Fossil-free transport in 2025
In order to reduce the environmental impact of our transport, we have accepted the challenge of completely fossil-free domestic transport by 2025. This is done by moving more transport to trains, striving for the shortest possible transport routes and demanding fossil-free fuels for our transporters.
By 2030, our international transports must also be fossil-free.
In the fall of 2022, we will begin the establishment of solar panels at our logistics facilities in Västerås and Vaggeryd. They will become two of the largest roof-based solar installations in Sweden.
In total, both solar cell facilities are estimated to produce 6.7 GWh per year. This corresponds to the household electricity for 1,340 normal-sized Swedish villas. (Swedish villas that use sources other than electricity for heating, for example district heating, consume an average of 5000 KWh/year, source SCB)
Initially, the electricity production will be used in the operation of the company's own business, but in the long term there is potential to be able to offer charging options for electric trucks and the production of hydrogen gas.
Healthy working enviroment
Our crates are easy to lift, carry and empty. They give you a better and more ergonomic working environment.
Complete pallet gray weighs 10 kg less than a corresponding wooden pallet, which reduces the number of heavy lifts. The pallets do not emit dust and wood chips, which gives all users a healthier workplace.
We repair crates and pallets
We always repair broken crates and pallets whenever possible. In a circular economy, reuse and longevity are at the core. The longer the lifespan, the better for the environment.
Maximizing the lifespan of our crates and pallets is one of our main focuses to improve our sustainability performance.
Sustainability, top of mind
We are constantly working to reduce the environmental impact of our facilities.
We strive to reduce the use of detergent when cleaning our pallets and crates. We wash as efficiently as possible based on an optimal combination of detergent, heat and water pressure. We also add carbon dioxide to neutralize the pH value in the wash water.
The largest share of our energy consumption goes to heating hot water for our laundry. To improve efficiency, we use already heated water at various parts of the process.
Reducing food waste
Reducing food waste is an important part for reducing our climate footprint. The ventilated crates help to keep the goods fresh, which increases lifespan. The stable construction also reduces crushing and impact damage to the contents in the crates.
We also support Stadsmissionen's work in redistributing left-over food to people who live in economic vulnerability in the cities where we operate.
Sustainable financial investments
Our mission is to reduce the environmental impact of the grocery industry. For us, it is obvious that our financial investments should also contribute to reduced emissions.
For several years our partner Danske Bank has helped us with placing our deposits in funds that address and work towards a sustainable future focusing on climate issues.
n 2016, the sustainability fund Danske Invest European Corporate Sustainable Bond was introduced with Svenska Retursystem as core investor. The fund has grown rapidly and is now one of the largest European funds that integrates sustainability into traditional analysis and portfolio management. In 2017, the fund was ranked Sweden's third most sustainable by the analysis company Morningstar.