How sustainable is corrugated packaging? - Industrial Physics How sustainable is corrugated packaging? - Industrial Physics

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How sustainable is corrugated packaging?

Corrugated Packaging and Sustainability

Corrugated packaging was already on the rise when Covid-19 hit, but the subsequent growth of e-commerce really helped it fly. The rise in online shopping reflected a key need for consumers, but getting their products safely posted out to them during pandemic restrictions wasn’t their only concern – sustainability remained a hot topic throughout.

Now corrugated manufacturers are continuing the search for more environmentally friendly options and processes. Wondering how that might impact your production and corrugated testing process? We’ve got a quick guide to everything you need to know.

What the customers want: new sustainable options

According to research from Survey Monkey, one in three consumers favor eco-friendly options. In fact, 35% of respondents even said that they would choose a slightly more expensive product if it was better for the environment than a cheaper alternative.

The same study also found that the global packaging market grew by 6.8% between 2013 and 2018. This growth, combined with the rise of e-commerce during the pandemic, is helping to drive the popularity of corrugated. In fact, Market Watch analysis predicts that the market for corrugated boxes to grow with a CAGR of 0.1% over the study duration 2020-2025.

Corrugated: an increasingly sustainable material

There are several different elements that combined to make corrugated a smart investment choice for manufacturers searching for more sustainable packaging alternatives.

  • Recyclable

Corrugated cardboard is normally made from a mixture of papers, some which have already been recycled and some made from “virgin” fibers. Once packaging made from corrugated board has been used, it can then be recycled to be used in a variety of other products, including corrugated.

  • Compostable

Made from natural fibers, most commonly from birch or pine pulp with a high percentage of recycled content, corrugated packaging can also be composted. It should generally be broken into small pieces first but can then be incorporated into a composting bin.

  • Increasingly lightweight

By choosing innovative recycled and lightweight paper composites for liner papers and fluting, manufacturers are now making corrugated boxes that are more efficient than ever before. The lighter the packaging, the more fuel and energy is saved during its transportation and lifecycle.

  • Re-useable

Many types of corrugated packaging are also suitable for re-use, thanks to its lightweight and sturdy nature. This means that consumers can repurpose their packaging and extend its lifecycle in line with any needs they have.

The future of corrugated

By investing in FEFCO standardized boxes, corrugated cardboard manufacturers can lower the volume of packaging material used across the retail, e-commerce, medical and food and beverage industry.

Of course, the introduction of new composites and constructions brings about the need for new testing and quality control plans. Find out more about the biggest factors impacting paper quality test methods in our exclusive report, ‘Your guide to quality corrugated’.

Your corrugated testing solution

Here at Industrial Physics, we’re happy to be global leaders in the test and inspection space. We offer scalable, in-depth solutions designed to meet your needs and our corrugated packaging testing solutions are incredibly diverse – from burst testing to edge crush testing and COF testing. You name it, we test it!

If you’d like to find out more about ways to test the integrity of boxes, linerboards, flutes, and corrugated panels, get in touch with our corrugated specialists.