The Environmental Benefits of Using Corrugated Cardboard Packaging
Packaging is an unavoidable part of life, it exists to enclose or protect products for transportation, distribution, storage, sale and use – it also serves as a marketing tool for building brand recognition. Corrugated cardboard packaging has long been one of the most universally popular forms of packaging, boasting qualities of strength, robustness and is lightweight, whilst minimising economic and environmental impacts.
What Is Eco-Friendly Packaging?
Eco-friendly packaging describes packaging which is safe for the environment and for individuals, as well as being easily recycled. An increasing number of organisations are taking steps to make more ethical decisions and reduce their carbon footprint, as awareness grows regarding the environmental impact packaging may have on the planet.
Main Advantages of Corrugated Cardboard
Paper is one of the most widely recycled products in the world, offering a wide range of uses and playing an essential role in the packaging industry. Corrugated cardboard is made from paper – in its most basic form, it refers to three thick layers of paper with an inside liner, outer liner and a third sheet ruffled into waves (fluting) in between the two. Different grades of corrugated cardboard may vary in strength and thickness.
Recyclable and Biodegradable
Recyclable and biodegradable – corrugated cardboard can be recycled and reused up to 6/7 times before the fibres become too weak to use, this minimises waste generation, meaning fewer products are sent to a landfill. Being fully biodegradable, the product breaks down quickly if sent to a landfill.
Improved Forest Management & Sustainability
Corrugated cardboard is usually made from birch or pine pulp. These are harvested from fast-growing sustainable forests. Trees are matured, harvested and replaced with seedlings to continue the cycle.
Low Carbon Footprint
Due to the recyclable qualities of corrugated cardboard, the energy required for manufacturing new packaging is considerably reduced – the saved energy can subsequently be used to manufacture other products.
Most corrugated cardboard is manufactured in its raw state without the need to add any products or bleaches – this not only means it can be disposed of more effectively than other products, and fewer additives used during the production process, results in a reduced quantity of pollutants being added to the water systems.
Corrugated cardboard is also lightweight – this has a knock-on effect with the carbon footprint of transportation, as every additional kilo in weight means higher fuel consumption during transportation.
Helps to Eliminate the Use of Plastic
Typical alternatives to corrugated packaging include synthetic materials such as polystyrene, bubble wrap and other types of void fill – all of which are non-environmentally friendly. The manufacture of corrugated cardboard means a reduction of up to 60% in C02 and oil emission and the recycling process for cardboard takes approximately 75% of the energy needed to make new cardboard.
The Recycling Process
During the recycling process, corrugated cardboard is shredded into fine pieces and then mixed with water and chemicals which break down the fibres and turn the mixture into a pulp. This is then blended with a new or virgin pulp which usually comes from wood chips – this adds to and helps to regulate strength. The pulp material is then passed through filters which remove any foreign objects, then the ink is cleaned from the pulp. The clean pulp is then spread out to dry and made into long sheets, which are then made into corrugated cardboard – the fluting depends on the grade being produced.
Nuttall Packaging Ltd is a Manchester-based, independently owned manufacturing company established in 1920. We proudly support the Corrugated Recycles Campaign – which promotes environmentally friendly Corrugated Products and the UK Corrugated Industry. We supply high quality bespoke packaging in a cost-effective and responsible manner by following our “Best Practice” principals, promoted by the UK Sheet Plant Association and embracing the ISO9001:2015 quality standard. For more information on our corrugated packaging, get in touch today.