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Towards a sustainable cold chain.

Author(s) : CLELAND D. J.

Type of article: Periodical article, Review

Summary

The food cold chain is an essential component of the urbanised and industrialised world. Recently, there has been growing awareness of the unsustainable nature of modern life due to resource depletion and environmental impact. This paper examines the sustainability of cold chains by analysing product environmental footprints for some refrigerated foods produced in NZ and consumed in the UK. The impact of the refrigeration component is only about 20% of the total impact of the food supply chain. The main environmental impacts of the cold chain are due to refrigerant leakage and energy use, although water use and construction materials can also be important factors. The impact increases with length of storage and/or transport, so eating local seasonal production after minimal storage is usually the most sustainable option. Imported counter-seasonal food can be more sustainable than storage of local production especially when primary production in the exporting country is more efficient. On-going efforts to reduce refrigerant leaks, transition to non-ODP and low GWP refrigerants such as natural refrigerants, and improve energy efficiency are all high priority ways to improve sustainability of the cold chain. If year-round supply of perishable products is demanded, then refrigerated storage offers a relatively low cost and low impact solution that is better than most other preservation methods or high rates of food wastage.

Available documents

Format PDF

Pages: pp. 36-42, 52-55 (E), pp. 43-55 (F)

Available

Free

Format PDF

Pages: pp. 36-42, 52-55 (E), pp. 43-55 (F)

Available

Free

Details

  • Original title: Towards a sustainable cold chain.
  • Record ID : 2010-0827
  • Languages: English
  • Subject: Environment, General information
  • Source: Bull. IIF-IIR - vol. 90 - n. 2010-3
  • Publication date: 2010/06

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