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3 environmental benefits of cardboard packaging

Posted 24th August, 2020

In recent years, there has been a huge drive towards greener packaging. This may have left you wondering whether it is still acceptable to use corrugated cardboard packaging in your supply chain. Despite a rise in alternative materials, there are many good reasons to opt for corrugated cardboard. To help you make a more informed decision, we’ve looked at some of its environmental advantages.

1. Corrugated cardboard packaging is reusable, recyclable and compostable.

One of the biggest benefits of cardboard packaging from an environmental perspective is that it is highly recyclable and compostable. When correctly stored, used and handled, it is also reusable – sometimes many times over. Once its useful life is over, cardboard can be recycled back into the manufacturing process or composted.

According to Ademe, the French environmental management agency, as much as 90+% of post-consumer cardboard packaging is recycled, and these figures appear to be fairly consistent here in the UK as well as throughout Europe. Because it does not use any dyes or bleaches, the latter option is extremely environmentally friendly. This also means cardboard enjoys an exceptionally low carbon footprint in the manufacturing process. According to various independent groups such as Pro Carton, cardboard very much deserves recognition as a sustainable, eco-responsible form of packaging.

2. Cardboard uses sustainably sourced materials

Most commercial cardboard packaging now uses a significant proportion of recycled material – as much as 75% of its content is post-consumer recycled waste. The additional fibre content that is required for it to be of sufficient strength is usually from birch or pine pulp. Both birch and pine used for cardboard manufacturing are obtained from, managed forests in which they are grown and harvested in a sustainable manner. In the UK, the internationally recognised FSC certification system allows businesses and consumers to be confident that wood, paper, cardboard and other forest products are made with materials from well-managed forests and/or recycled sources.

What is the carbon footprint of Cardboard packaging?

There is no simple answer to this particular question, due to the number of factors that must be considered. Calculating the true environmental impact of packaging needs to take into consideration not only the volume of packaging required for any given supply chain and whether optimisation of packaging has taken place, as well as aspects such as the number of miles incurred in the supply chain (lifecycle analysis). Even with this data available, the eventual sustainability calculations would need to reflect the entire logistics element of operations, both outbound packaging and the post-consumer journey. Research does, however, indicate that the overall footprint makes cardboard favourable as a sustainable packaging material.

3. Corrugated cardboard has an exceptional strength to weight ratio

As a packaging material, corrugated cardboard has an excellent strength to weight ratio, making it an ideal protective packaging material for a huge variety of products. This can be further enhanced by ensuring that the correct dimensions are chosen for the packaging. The better the fit, the better the level of protection that is offered. Additional products such as corner protectors can also help to increase the protection offered to goods in transit.

Here at Station Couriers, we are experts in parcel and palletised delivery services. For more advice on packaging, get in touch with us today on 01686 621190.

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