Plastic Theft: MILLIONS Stolen From Bakery Industry Annually

Noelle Daigle

Feb, 15 February, 2022

When Theft Costs Millions

Millions of bakery trays are stolen by organized crime gangs that deliver them to companies who turn a blind eye to where they originated from and illegally break them down to sell for profit.

Once the plastic trays or pallets are ground down, they become untraceable and lost to the rightful owners forever.

Ownership of these valuable business assets is easily stolen for several reasons.

Among these reasons, is unreliable labeling options for durable goods made from plastic.

A strong method of proving ownership of bakery trays or pallets is durable labeling.

Labels adorned with brand logos, theft warnings, return information, and barcodes are effective to deter theft.

The problem, however, is plastic bakery trays and pallets are manufactured from olefin plastic which has an extremely low surface energy level, similar to Teflon™, and nothing wants to stick to such a surface. Typical labeling methods try to utilize a combination of adhesive and bonding layers to try to stick to the plastic, but evidence of label failure using these traditional labeling methods on olefin plastic is absolutely everywhere.

Because of this unfortunate reality, thieves have no great obstacles to face as they simply remove the labeling from the bakery trays without much effort at all, and they are then free to grind up the plastic and resell it for profit.

The company that was stolen from is then left with the cost of not only the loss of the bakery tray, but the costs associated with the labor, time, and resources to replace it.

Present Theft Statistics

One company called Bakers Basco Ltd. for example possesses a pool of 4 million universal bread trays in circulation annually. Of those 4 million, 400,000 go “missing” every single year.

That’s just one company!

Now let’s amplify that with national numbers. According to the American Bakers Association, reusable plastic trays are imperative to the distribution of baked goods, and in “North America alone, it is estimated that the food industry’s annual reusable plastic tray, crate, and pallet losses exceed $500 million.”

As you can see, this is just not just a small problem. It’s extremely pervasive and there aren’t many resources in place for victimized businesses to be able to effectively fight against this theft.

To many, it probably feels like a losing battle.

Next let’s explore the value behind the perception of security, and how that can positively impact brand protection while reducing theft.

Perception Of Security

Have you ever wondered how the perception of security can impact asset protection and deter victimization?

The perception of security in, for example, a product such as a bakery or beverage tray, for example, might look something like a label that states to would-be thieves that the product is trackable, protected in some manner, or may indicate a clear theft warning on it.

Even if the product is not actually trackable, there is evidence to suggest that the perception of security can deter thieves. It might make them decide to go find an easier target and not risk the chance of ending up incriminated. Using this tactic, a company might see a certain percentage of their previously stolen trays or crates begin to decrease.

To take it one step further, there is now a development in place at Polyfuze Graphics Corporation that provides additional security.

Utilizing their unique labeling solution engineered specifically for permanent labeling of olefin plastic which bakery trays, crates, and pallets are made from, a taggant can now be integrated into Polymer Fusion Labeling to provide protection and security in the form of state of the art traceability.

Read on below to learn more about how this technology works.

Polymer Fusion Labeling With D-TECT™ Taggant Technology

Polymer Fusion Label as a means of permanently identifying Brand Recognition, Ownership, Return Information, and Theft Warning Information and then D-TECT as an additive to permanently identify stolen property should it occur.

Polymer Fusion Labeling is the science of merging two separate polyolefin thermoplastic polymers together (polyolefin label + polyolefin product) utilizing melting point, time, and pressure, producing a singular piece of plastic without the use of adhesives, tie layers, bonding agents, or secondary surface treatments. The labels are just as impervious to the elements and pressure washing as the container itself is and cannot be separated from the product.

During application, the Polymer Fusion Label and the customer’s polyolefin product simultaneously reach melting point, causing a “fusion reaction.”

Polymer Fusion Labels are manufactured as a single later of 100% compatible polymer material. There are no substrates or adhesives used in them at all, which olefin plastic rejects. This makes them essentially like a tattoo for reusable or returnable packaging and containers. So much like a tattoo, in fact, that a thief would not be able to remove it without damaging the product.

What does this mean? Truly permanent, life-of-reusable-packaging Brand Ownership, Return Contact Information, and Theft Warning Information labeling.

Furthermore, because Polymer Fusion Labels are truly permanent, it enables them to be manufactured with Polyfuze D-TECT™ taggant. This is where the traceability, authentication, brand protection, and incrimination of thieves come into play.

D-TECT are microscopic, highly tunable, physical, optical, and magnetic crystals introduced into the polymer matrix of our Fusion Technology inks during production and printed as part of a logo, label, or as an imperceptible feature to be applied onto the containers or packaging.
Just like a fingerprint, D-TECT utilizes a customized combination that’s unique to you and your products.

The result is a truly permanent and traceable mark on plastic that cannot be lifted, separated, or removed for the life of the product no matter the environment or exposure.

D-TECT crystals are impossible to reverse engineer and permanently ensure brand protection, and product security, for the life of the product.

In cases of reusable plastic theft that has been ground up, shredded, or converted to recyclate, invisible luminescent pigment is added to Polymer Fusion Technology D-TECT inks that can help investigators detect small fragments under blacklight or IR for identification purposes. Even the smallest particles can be identified and analyzed which would be all the evidence needed to prosecute thieves and recycler’s willing to turn a blind eye.

If you’re searching for a truly permanent and reliable way to label your plastic reusable products, please call us at 928-634-8888 to learn more about solutions we are happy to develop for you.

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