(Nov. 16) Retailers have been asking corrugated manufacturers to design a better bulk bin for years. John Mohr, general manager of International Paper’s plant in Hanford, Calif., said the company’s new bin is the answer.

“For the Wal-Marts, Costcos and other retailers of the world, there have always been safety concerns with bins,” Mohr said. “They’re big boxes holding a lot of weight. Wal-Mart has had lawsuits from little old men tripping over wooden corners and little old ladies literally falling into bins trying to pick up melons.”

The problem with traditional octagon-shaped bins is that pallets are square or rectangular. That left wooden corners lurking around each corner of a bin. International Paper’s new bin is rectangular.

“They’ve said for years that we’ve got to get rid of that pallet edge,” Mohr said. “This covers the entire pallet and eliminates the trip hazard.”

The rectangular design also allows the bin to hold more product than its octagon predecessor. International Paper, Stamford, Conn., claims the new bin held 50 more pounds of watermelon than older models during trials.

Mohr said the bins interlock and can be stacked up to six units high. The outer wall flaps, available in double or triple wall, fold inside the full length of the bin to provide durability. That construction also allows graphics printed on the outside of the bin to be printed on the interior.

“Retailers are telling growers they want this bin because of the safety issue, stacking strength, and they can print on the inside of the bin,” Mohr said.

Mohr said the recyclable bin — which was introduced in October during the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in San Diego — was more expensive than octagonal bins but cheaper than plastic totes.

“We developed this primarily because of safety concerns, but the second reason was the big plastic bin had stolen some of our market,” he said. “This is an alternative to plastic bins, which is huge because of E. coli issues. Plastic bins have to be washed out. With this, you’re using a fresh bin every time. You don’t have contamination issues.”

International Paper touts safer, better bulk bin
International Paper, Stamford, Conn., has unveiled a rectangular bin that eliminates pallet corners sticking out. It is also printable on the interior.