The UK crate rental company said that it has installed a new washer and dryer with 24/7 operational capacity at its facility in the Midlands to streamline RTP crate washing and to cater to the growing demand from large food processors. "Our new washer is able to treat plastic pallets, trays and crates," Caroline Williams from PHS Teacrate told FoodProductionDaily.com. "All RTP items are passed through a new drying section, which cuts down on turnaround time and prevents water damage to products." Hygiene controls She said that UK food processors are increasingly outsourcing their pallet and crate equipment washing due to the strict hygiene measures and protocols that the large multiples insist on. The crate rental company said that it offers a complete quality control programme as part of its cleaning procedure, including random microbial swab testing. Environmental impact According to Williams, RTP is fast replacing cardboard as the preferred carrier for transporting food products such as meat, poultry, baked goods and fresh produce, as it offers an easy-to-manage solution with controlled, predictable costs, and allows processors to meet seasonal peaks. She said that RTP packaging also has minimal environmental impact: "The life span of RTP equipment typically is five to ten years, which enables multiple trips through the supply chain. Cardboard products can only be used two to three times before the waste has to go to landfill, resulting in expensive waste disposal costs for the customer," said Williams. "RTP also allows more efficient loads on vehicles, providing better space utilisation than cardboard and better protection in transit, which results in less damage to stock," added Williams. Williams said that its new washer will help processors using RTP packaging cope with the increased summer demand for barbecue goods. PHS Teacrate's services include crate sale and rental as well as assets tracking.