5 Environmental Advantages of Corrugated Packaging

Posted by Ken Wheeler on Mon, Nov 12, 2012 @ 2:10 PM

More and more companies are recognizing that environmental sustainability is integral to conducting business ethically, responsibly… and successfully. In more and more markets, making a product affordable isn’t enough. Demand for environmentally friendly products is growing rapidly, as more and more consumers demand packaging that can be recycled or that is made from renewable source materials.

In contrast to other low-cost and low-weight packaging solutions like plastic blister packs or conventional polystyrene “nerdles,” corrugated cardboard packaging offers the potential to be made, used, reused and ultimately disposed of sustainably. Here are five of the environmental advantages of using corrugated cardboard packaging:

1: Corrugated packaging is made from renewable materials.

Most corrugated cardboard packaging is made from pine or birch tree pulp (often with a high percentage of recycled content). Generally speaking, these types of trees are easy to grow in a wide range of conditions, and are fast-growing in comparison to hardwood trees. The trees used for corrugated packaging can be harvested sustainably from properly managed forests.

2: Corrugated packaging is recyclable.

Corrugated cardboard packaging is among the most widely recycled materials on earth. Recycling has a “ripple effect” that reduces the energy and other resources required to make a material.

Some cardboard is made from 100% recycled materials, while the average is 70% to 90% recycled – making cardboard one of the most “green” packaging solutions available anywhere. Corrugated packaging can also be made without any bleaches or dyes, which further enhances its recyclability and reduces its environmental footprint.

Finally, corrugated packaging materials can be disposed of more easily and sustainably than many materials because they are biodegradable.

3: Corrugated packaging is reusable.

Many corrugated cardboard boxes and similar packaging are made with flexible corners, so that a box can be collapsed and used again and again before it is recycled. Not only consumers, but also cost-conscious companies, are actively reusing cardboard boxes. Reusing boxes saves money by reducing the number of boxes that must be purchased new. Reuse also reduces waste and therefore disposal costs.

4: Corrugated packaging is energy-efficient to create.

Because they are made with a high percentage of recycled materials, the amount of energy required to make corrugated packaging solutions is reduced. And because they are made from a locally available materials (tree pulp and air), the transportation costs associated with manufacturing corrugated packaging is also reduced.

5: Corrugated packaging can be more efficient protection for your products.

Avoiding the production of something in the first place is even better than recycling it. Innovative corrugated packaging designs, such as retail ready packaging (RRP), can eliminate extraneous materials while delivering equal or greater structural strength and product protection. For example, RRP designs frequently eliminate entire portions of traditional cardboard packaging, and can also allow for thinner package walls.

How important is environmental sustainability to the target markets for your products? And how does this influence your packaging?

Flickr Photo Credit: by robynejay

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