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La Colombe, Thermo King Win the 2021 Excellence in Reusable Packaging Award

Reusable packaging product and service suppliers Schoeller Allibert and Black Forest Container Systems (La Colombe) and Reusability (Thermo King) receive the award with their customers.

WASHINGTON, DC (September 8, 2021) – – The Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) is pleased to announce not one, but two winners of the 2021 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.

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

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 global climate innovator 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.”

About the Excellence in Reusable Packaging Award: The RPA Excellence in Reusable Packaging award recognizes companies and organizations that have developed and implemented innovative and measurable reusable packaging solutions in a business-to-business supply chain. 2021 marks the tenth year for this annual award program. Submissions are reviewed by an independent panel of judges who are not members of the Association. RPA would like to thank our expert judges:

  • 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
  • Ziynet Boz, assistant professor of Sustainable Food Systems Engineering, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida

About the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA)

RPA is a non-profit trade organization representing and promoting the common business interests of member suppliers and users of reusable packaging products and services.  RPA promotes the use and value of reusable transport packaging systems, which offer product quality, economic, and environmental benefits to supply chains. For more information, visit

About La Colombe

La Colombe ( is a leading coffee roaster known for ethical, long-term trade practices with growers. Considered one of the pioneers of the third wave of coffee, it provides signature classic blends and exceptional single-origin coffees to cafés, hotels, restaurants and retailers around the world. In addition, the company owns and operates 30 cafés in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. – with additional locations and new markets scheduled to open in 2021-2022. The company has also made headlines in the ready-to-drink business with its DRAFT LATTE – the world’s first-ever textured cold latte.

About Schoeller Allibert
Schoeller Allibert is widely recognized as the global leader for supply of plastic returnable transport packaging containers for more than 60 years.  Schoeller Allibert is a total solution provider including design and manufacture of innovative, sustainable packaging solutions for industries including food and beverage, agriculture, automotive, pharmaceutical, retail, eTail, online grocery pickup, system integration, and industrial manufacturing. Serving more than 50 countries, our global manufacturing footprint allows us to focus on providing our customers with the sustainable solutions that meet investment requirements. Schoeller Allibert is globally based in Hoofddorp, Netherlands, with North American headquarters near Phoenix, Arizona. Learn more at

About Black Forest Container Systems, LLC
Black Forest Container Systems, LLC is the leading distributor in North America of sustainable, reusable, stainless steel packaging systems and closed loop custom containers for storage, process, and transport of flowable liquids servicing the chemical, beverage, aseptic food, and pharmaceutical markets.  Black Forest offers state of the art collapsible bulk bins and high quality thermal laminated bag in box systems.  Container and bag certifications include  FDA, Kosher, UN/DOT, CE, ASME,  and TuV certifications.  Products include stainless steel shipping containers, UN portable tanks, intermediate bulk containers, aseptic totes, aseptic and non-aseptic bag in box packaging, ASME pressure vessels, process tanks, flasks,  hygienic bottles, fermentation tanks, variable capacity tanks and wine kegs. Products available for purchase, short term lease and lease to own. Learn more at

 About Thermo King
Thermo King – by Trane Technologies (NYSE: TT), a global climate innovator – is a worldwide leader in sustainable transport temperature control solutions. Thermo King has been providing transport temperature control solutions for a variety of applications, including trailers, truck bodies, buses, air, shipboard containers, and railway cars since 1938. For more information, visit

 About Reusability
ReusabilityTM empowers business by driving sustainability and delivering savings. By designing and executing the world’s most innovative and environmentally sustainable supply chains, Reusability is achieving its mission of eliminating disposable packaging materials. With 20 years of experience, Reusability helps companies leverage the benefits of reusable packaging by managing their assets and circular supply chain, reducing packaging, logistics, and transportation costs, and meeting the sustainability goals of its customers. Learn more at


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