|Commodity Distribution, A Practical Guide for Field Staff (United Nations High Commission for Refugee, 1997, 77 p.)|
|VI. SPECIAL ISSUES|
Beneficiaries are often allowed to keep empty food containers and sacks. For the first distribution following an influx, these containers may be the only way for the refugees to carry and store the commodities. Where rations are distributed in bulk (not scooped), it would in any event be impractical to retrieve them. Empty containers are often used as shelter material or as cooking pots etc. They can be sold to provide valuable extra support to the family. The costs of collection and storage of empty containers can be significant. It is useful however to maintain a stock of empty sacks and containers which can be used for re-bagging when food containers are damaged.
In cases where WFP wishes to retrieve empty food containers, responsibility for this rests with WFP, who will pay for their collection, storage and transportation. Collection of empty containers is normally only possible when they have been retained at the distribution point, and the commodities distributed without containers to the refuges. Where containers have already been distributed with the ration, it is usually impractical or causes too much resentment, to retrieve them.