Study Says Plastic Reusable Containers are Fire Safe

May 6, 2009
ARLINGTON, Va.-Results of a scientific, quantifiable study indicate that reusable plastic containers (RPCs) filled with commodities require no additional fire safety measures than when the same products are stored in corrugated containers.

The study comes from the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA).

RPA president, Jerry Welcome, notes, “This fire study is one of several independent and in-depth studies that the RPA has conducted on areas related to reusable packaging. We are making it available to others in the industry in keeping with our mission to be a valued source of information.”

The tests were carried out by CE Tech LLC at the Department of Fire Technology at San Antonio’s Southwest Research Institute. RPA worked with a retailer, insurance companies, fire risk consultants and fire testing experts to establish a battery of tests. Ranking and final commodity classifications were determined by calculating four industry standard fire performance parameters for the commodity/RPC systems tested and comparing them to ranking tables.

In commenting on the test, Charles J. Lancelot, Ph.D., principal consultant, CE Tech, said, “The results were quite striking. They confirmed that when the commodities tested, and their equivalents, are stored in standard reusable plastic containers in the typical arrays used in warehouses, stores, and DCs equipped with fire suppression systems rated for Class II commodities, the RPC-stored commodities will be well within the capabilities of the installed sprinkler system. There will be no measurable risk entailed as compared with the same products stored in corrugated containers.”