A couple of years ago we posted a blog on “How environmentally friendly is cardboard?”. In this post we observed that while cardboard is recyclable and biodegradable it still was getting poor grades based on its total life cycle.
The main culprit is paper as the process for manufacturing paper consumes a lot of water and uses chlorine based bleaches that result in toxic emissions into the air and ground. We stated that worldwide, the pulp and paper industry is the fifth largest consumer of energy.
Recently EBN published an article titled “Corrugated Packaging Getting Consistently Greener”. The article cites the result of a peer review joint study commissioned by the Corrugated Packaging Alliance and conducted by the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement. The gist of the article is that manufacturers and users are making a lot of progress in reducing the environmental impact of corrugated materials.
Specifically, during the time period from 2006 to 2010:
- Greenhouse emissions have dropped 32%
- The impact of nutrient releases on receiving water and soil has decreased by 22%
- The effect of particulate matter emissions decreased by 14%
- The recovery rate for old corrugated containers increased from 72% to 85%
These improvements span across multiple phases of the life cycle starting with the harvesting of wood, including the transport, and ends with the recovery of used product.
We at Packnet are always researching more environmentally friendly materials and methods for creating custom packaging solutions. This includes both corrugated cardboard and corrugated plastic. We believe one of the most costs effective and environmentally friendly packaging solutions is reusable/ returnable packaging. Each time a packaging solution is reused, the life cycle benefits as that is one less new or recycled product that is manufactured and one less product that needs to be handled. Reusable packaging is also very cost effective. Packnet has a variety of reusable packaging solutions that encompass a wide variety of potential applications. For more info, please review Packnet’s reusable packaging section.