Circular Economy Packaging: How Is Packaging Playing A Role?

The idea of the circular economy is that we eradicate the linear route from production; to use, to throwing away. We instead loop the waste materials back into materials for use for something else. For example, a company will create a cardboard box to send you your goods, you receive it, and then you put it in the bin, and it goes to landfill. 

With circular economy packaging, that cardboard would be made, used and then either broken down and used for something else or made back into a box. 

World of packaging

In the world of packaging, it can be difficult to understand why all packaging doesn’t get recycled. However, there are complications such as card and paper mixed with plastic or perhaps it’s dirtied with grease. Therefore, there is a transition that needs to take place. One that takes us from the linear culture to the circular economy. 

Everything we buy from a shop or off the internet comes in some sort of packaging. Often it’s difficult to tell whether that packaging goes in the recycling or not.

Therefore, another consideration is what kinds of messaging and information they want to display. 

Right-size packaging

Right-sized packaging is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s ensuring that only the minimum amount of materials surrounds packaged goods. The paper and pulp industry will have to move into this space. It’s quite common to open up your latest delivery and find that the box is mostly empty space and your product is only a small part of it. Not to mention the air-filled plastic that keeps it in the corner of the box. 

Landfill and Recycling

Our landfill is, with any luck, soon to be a thing of the past. With packaging becoming more recyclable, there should be no need to send anything to landfill. The way that the packaging industry will contribute to the eradication of items going to landfill, making it usable again. Even just by reducing the size of packaging can radically reduce the amount being sent to landfill. 

Who is responsible? 

Part of making the move towards the circular economy is recognising who is responsible and ensuring there is accountability.

Packaging companies have a responsibility to improve their packaging. Not only this, but consumers have to choose products responsibly. In addition to this, it’s important that consumers are holding the pulp and paper industry accountable for their actions. For example, if the products are placed in the wrong sized boxes causing unnecessary waste, then the consumers must call them out on it. 

The David Attenborough Effect

In recent years, the UK watched David Attenborough nature documentaries about the impact of plastic on the oceans and other ways humans are damaging the environment.

The newly named ‘David Attenborough Effect’ describes the impact these documentaries had on the public. It opened eyes to the issues. Therefore, they’re more likely to hold companies accountable, and the pulp and paper industry will experience more pressure on them to step to the circular economy challenge. 

Uniform collections

One of the challenges that the UK faces when trying to recycle packaging is the vastly different council recycling solutions.

Unfortunately, each council in the UK recycles differently. This means there is a vast amount of confusion when it comes to packaging. If we are to meet our recycling targets set by the UK Government, and achieve a circular economy, the UK will need to set up a uniform collection system. 

This will mean that all residents have the same number of bins and rules for using them. In addition, the rubbish will get recycled in the same way. Therefore, multiple recycling plants across the UK can help with increased loads or excess waste if there happens to be a spike in waste in a neighbouring council. However, this is still something the UK needs to campaign for. 

Circular economy packaging

Circular economy compliant packaging is entering the pulp and paper industry. This will mean that companies will have to be on top of creating reusable and recyclable packaging as well as right-sized packaging solutions. 

Your business can help to make sure your packaging fits into a circular economy by choosing sustainable solutions that your customers will love. The first step can be towards eliminating plastic from your packaging and only using recyclable, reusable products such as paper and cardboard. Ensuring your packaging fits into a circular economy can not only help the environment but can be a key selling point of your brand as more and more customers look for sustainable plastic-free brands. 

What Effect Is The Circular Economy Having On The Paper Industry?

As we become more mindful of our actions, we are choosing more suitable and environmentally friendly paper solutions while trying to minimise our use plastic.

This is likely to impact the paper industry in many different ways. When we consider all the different ways we use paper for, there is a huge amount to evolve into the circular economy. We will no longer be a throw-away society. 

Let’s look at how the circular economy and the paper industry are going to impact each other:

What is the Circular Economy? 

The circular economy is the idea that we can create products that do not end up in a landfill.

Instead, we ditch the linear approach of making something and then throwing it away. Instead, it’s replaced with making something, repurposing it and then reusing the materials again. Consequently, it minimises waste and allows for more sustainable use of resources.

What effect is it having on the paper industry? 

A change to how we approach manufacturing is obviously going to impact the industry. However, this new economic model works alongside businesses. Therefore, we can look at how the circular economy affects the paper industry in both positive and negative ways.

Changing designs

By designing the packaging for recycling and reuse, the design of materials would have to change. As we’re moving away from plastic, more pressure is on cardboard and paper packaging. The EU’s Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive sets the percentage of packaging that must be recycled to 65% by 2020. Therefore, the paper industry has to think about redesigning their products. Not only this but how to close the circular loop every step of the way. 

Using different materials

By aiming to make the materials recyclable or reusable, the right materials are vital. Therefore the paper industry needs to invest in changing the makeup of their products. In addition, it must still be cost-effective and economical.

It might even be the case that the paper industry will have to adapt to a high cost of materials. Not only this, but they might have to consider new ways to deal with the by-products of production. 

In some cases, other manufacturing processes can use industry by-products. The great thing about the pulp and paper industry is that it is from a renewable source. Trees will continuously grow. Making paper also increases the viability of the material for fuel. For example, weight-for-weight you can get more energy-burning paper than you would from wood. 

Increasing innovation

The great thing about paradigm shifts in industries is that it opens a whole new opportunity for innovation.

Whether it’s creating new materials or researching into smart packaging – there are opportunities for the industry to make a break-though. It can change the way we live our lives. Innovation can be the difference between creating packaging that allows 100 items to be transported and 1000 items to be transported. 

Although the paper industry will see the innovation initially as costly, investing in research and technology can help save money. Even simply reducing the size of the packaging in relation to what it’s holding can make a difference. 

Shaping infrastructure

There is no doubt that moving towards the circular economy is going to impact the paper industry infrastructure. Manufacturing will streamline and by-products collected. The infrastructure currently used to bury waste will need repurposing as there will, hopefully, be less need for it. 

Education

The paper industry and stakeholders will need to increase the knowledge and understanding within the workforce. Educating the public will also improve the uptake of the new packaging. Often consumers end up picking the cheapest option. Education shows that recycled and reusable packaging and paper not only meets CSR targets but doesn’t compromise on quality and usability. 

Circular economy and paper industry

The circular economy aims to benefit the paper industry. There will be some initial hurdles and costs. However, it means that as a consumer, we can choose the best companies to provide the most environmentally friendly packaging. It’s obvious that we’re going to run out of landfill space. With countries like China no longer accepting our rubbish, we need to come up with solutions on the ground.

Therefore, moving from a linear to a circular business pattern allows us to close the loop and cut out waste and resources loss.

What Is A Linear Economy? Why Are We Moving Away From It?

The linear economy is straight-line thinking. It’s the idea of making a box, using it, and then sending it to landfill. It is one straight process from beginning to end.

Conversely, a circular economy is one where it’s not a start-to-finish process but is a continuous cycle. Instead of your box going to landfill, companies recycle it into something else – like another box! Then it’s used again. So why are we moving away from the linear economy and towards a circular economy

To move away from landfill 

It doesn’t take an environmental scientist to understand why burying our rubbish just buries our problems. Waste buried in landfill can sit there for years. All the oxygen escapes as it’s compacted over time. As a consequence, the microbes that remain are anaerobic. They release methane. Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases. It contributes to the unnatural warming of our planet. Therefore, if we don’t stop burying our rubbish and start making something useful out of it – we’ll only contribute further to the climate crisis!

To save money

You can save money by reusing old materials rather than manufacturing new ones. For example, you can take a box and process it into a brand new box. This reduced or completely irradicates the need for landfill. In addition to this, you don’t need to have new materials. This reduces pressure on the land to grow trees for cardboard. 

You can also use waste to create energy instead of landfilling. Because we will always have waste – it’s basically renewable! For example, burning non-biodegradable waste can heat water to produce steam that can turn a turbine — turning the turbine results in the generation of power. This saves money on energy and landfill.

There is a standard to set

By adopting the circular economy approach, it sets the example for the rest of the world. The UK should work out a reliable and sustainable approach to manufacturing goods. Then this can be the template to follow anywhere else. After all, the environment does not adhere to human boundaries – it’s all connected! We need the world to pull together.

It doesn’t cover every stage 

A bonus of the circular economy over the linear one is that it improves every stage of the process. It considers the implications of travel, packaging, and other qualities that are inefficient. 

Packaging can be a great example of this. By using clever packaging, recycling is made so much easier. It only uses the necessary resources, and it reduces the cost of transporting goods. Smart packaging that reduces the amount of empty space inside makes delivering items more efficient. Wasted space is a waste of fuel. Therefore, getting the right sized packaging is important. Thinking about these elements help the circular economy knit together.

It’s not sustainable

The definition of sustainable development is ‘meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability for the future to meet their needs.’ By making products only to bury them in the ground, it’s a huge waste of resources. Considering that most resources used to manufacture goods come from a finite resource, we cannot go on using the linear economy. 

For example, plastic is made from oil. We are using oil at a phenomenal rate. It’s likely that we only have around 50 years of oil production left until we run out. Oil is formed from the decaying bodies of animals being compressed over 100’s of millions of years. Definitely not something we can wait for!

In addition to this, on the grand scheme of things, England is relatively small. We’re not going to have the room for new rubbish tips. Therefore, it’s not sustainable to keep doing so. Not only this, but when you fill up an area with rubbish, you cannot build on top. It likely to compact over time and the dip which is not stable. And I’m sure you’d agree you’d prefer not to live on top of a rubbish tip!

It’s time to improve the efficiency and move away from the linear economy

We need to start considering each stage of the production of our goods. When we start to see where there are significant inefficiencies and waste, we will see an increase in productivity. Not only this, but it will boost the investment in technology that will perform these changes. This also links to the increase in the number of jobs in the industry. The more brains involved in solving the global issue, the closer we’re likely to get to a fully circular economy. 

Do you still have questions about how packaging can be part of your circular economy? Contact us today for more information.

5 Circular Economy Benefits You Need To Know About

Have you ever opened the box of your latest online purchase and discovered that it’s mostly empty space? Where do the materials for latest gadget come from? Would you be okay with having a landfill near your house? 

We no longer live in a linear world. Before, we’d make a product, use it and then send it to landfill. Now it’s got life after use! In a circular fashion, the product can be repurposed back into something useful. This saves money on the next generation of products and cuts out the harmful repercussions of vast amounts of landfill. So, lets get onto some circular economy benefits.

It helps your planet!

Firstly, it shouldn’t come to a surprise that putting all our rubbish in the ground isn’t good for our environment. When it’s all compacted down under the soil, all the oxygen is squashed out. Without oxygen, the microbes that thrive in the ground are anaerobic, meaning they respire without oxygen. 

When they begin to break down the rubbish, they release methane as a by-product of living. Methane is one of the more potent greenhouse gases responsible for the unnatural warming of the earth. Therefore, by avoiding sending waste to landfill, you’re avoiding contributing to the climate crisis.

Not only this but think of all the harmful chemicals that would be in your waste. Old mobile phones contain toxic metals. Bottles of old cleaning materials contain dangerous chemicals. Plastic packaging breaks down enough to be soluble. As a consequence, when rainwater moves through the landfill, it filters into the water that we drink. Therefore, it’s a health hazard. 

Raw materials are finite 

Secondly, have you ever thought about where the materials for your latest purchase come from? Some materials, such as metal and plastic, are from raw materials in the ground. If we chuck them away without reusing them, it’s a waste of these resources. Plastic is made from oil and oil is becoming more scarce.

As a consequence, miners are taking more risks to find it. This often included destroying forests or polluting the land and sea. Reusing sources is clearly a no-brainer!

Opens up jobs and innovation

Not only does the circular economy help your environment, but it brings economic benefits too. By opening up a whole sector dedicated to the recycling and reuse of waste materials, we create thousands of jobs. 

Also, we must create solutions for a circular economy. By encouraging the reuse and recycling of our waste, we are encouraging innovation. Have you ever heard of the ‘David Attenborough Effect’? It is when David Attenborough’s TV documentaries make people talk about the environment. Now, people are demanding an explanation as to why we aren’t investing in the circular economy to save our environment. 

Improves relationships 

Recently, China put its foot down and refused to take our rubbish. For years, we’d been shipping waste plastic overseas because we couldn’t cope with it. China themselves are struggling to save their own environment and took the step to save themselves from more tragedy. Therefore, it’s becoming more important for the UK and countries alike, to deal with their own waste. By pledging to move into a circular economy, they are stepping up to tackle problems head-on!

Saves money

From growing and cutting down trees to manufacturing it into cardboard, the process is costly. However, if the cardboard is already made, we can reprocess it back into useful cardboard. As a consequence, it reduces the number of trees cut down and the amount of manufacturing in the process. Less manufacturing, less cost. Don’t forget – less landfill too! 

A landfill is expensive. Each year, councils across the UK have a landfill allowance. One council alone can spend up to £4 million in landfill tax. And this excludes the cost of building one! Not only this but fines of £150 occur for every tonne of biodegradable waste (waste that breaks down easily like food) over their allowance.  Every year this allowances reduces to meet UK Government targets, the allowance can be as much as 100,000 tonnes. It’s not that hard to see how much it would cost a council in fines to go over by even just one percent. 

Finally, another example of how to save money is by repurposing waste food. Over 1.9 million tonnes of food ends up in the bin in the UK each year. If we stopped food from going to landfill, we could save food and money. We could give food to those who haven’t got any. In addition to this, waste can go into making pet food. Not only this but a process called ‘Anaerobic Digestion’ can make energy from this waste. 

Circular Economy Benefits

The possibilities really are endless. With so many innovations, it’s a wonder why more people aren’t adopting the circular economy approach. We’re doing our bit by ensuring all our packaging is capable of being reused and recycled. We have clear labelling and offer advice to our customers on saving money and materials. So if you want to find out more about our approach to a circular economy, get in touch. 

Paper: Who’d Have Thought It Would Be the Answer to Plastics?

In recent years, consumers have become increasingly concerned about the use of plastic packaging.

A 2017 survey by grassroots environmental group A Plastic Planet, for example, found 81% of people were concerned about the amount of plastic packaging being thrown away and 91% backed the introduction of plastic free supermarket aisles.

In 2018 the BBC aired Blue Planet II, and the interest in finding solutions to plastic waste pollution became a major focus for the UK government, who released a consultation to gain the public’s views on banning single-use plastics.

Many businesses have decided not to wait for the results of this consultation while others feel it doesn’t go far enough.  Last year, over 180 major companies including Tesco, Unilever, Nestlé, Birds Eye and Boots, signed the UK Plastics Pact, committing to eliminate single-use plastic packaging from their supply chains and replacing all plastic packaging with reusable, recyclable or compostable alternatives.

What, though, are these alternatives?  While some businesses are looking for technological solutions, others are turning to a more traditional product, one that has been around for 2,000 years – paper.

Paper has a long tradition of being used as packaging (archaeologists have found mirrors wrapped in paper from as early as the 2nd Century BC), but it wasn’t until the mid-1800’s that the use of wood-pulp to produce paper-based products made it much more affordable to produce paper. This was followed by the invention of paper bag cutting machines, making the use of paper as packaging much more commonplace.

Today, more than 400 million metric tonnes of paper and cardboard are produced worldwide each year; over 50% is used for packaging paper.

Benefits of paper packaging

One of the main benefits of paper is that it’s a renewable resource, one that can be re-used and recycled much more easily than plastic: the most recent UK government figures show almost double the amount of paper and cardboard (81.9%) is recycled compared to plastic (44.9%).

Even if paper ends up in the rubbish, it decomposes with little harm to the environment, unlike plastic: on average, a paper bag takes one month to break down while a plastic bag takes ten years.

Paper packaging is a flexible and affordable way to preserve, protect and transport a wide range of items.

Cardboard (or containerboard), for example, is strong, sturdy and comes in a range of sizes, making it ideal for shipping everything from household items to works of art; paper bags are perfect for shoppers wanting to take home groceries and store food such as coffee, tea, snacks, or sweets; and paper sacks make shipping bulk dry goods easy and affordable.

Paper bags generally have flat bases, unlike plastic bags, which make them stable and easier to store on shelves or in cupboards; they are also safer as you cannot suffocate in a paper bag and paper is much less toxic than plastic. Cardboard packaging is generally boxed-shaped, making it easier to stack, reducing the amount of space needed in warehouses, along with costs to businesses. All paper packaging is easy for companies to brand, making paper packaging a great marketing tool as well as a practical method for storing and transporting goods.

What next for paper packaging?

As consumers push for more sustainable packaging, companies are looking for ways to give their customers what they want.

McDonald’s, for example, recently announced it would make the change from plastic to paper straws in May 2019, and Morrisons are moving to paper bags too.

Beyond this, paper packaging manufacturers are looking at innovative ways to produce paper and package products.

In Germany, the US and Canada, for example, sweet manufacturers are looking at packaging their products in edible paper while in California, one company has been funded to impregnate compostable coffee cups with seeds from local trees and plants while another has developed a paper bottle that can safely be used with liquids including water and laundry detergent.

As a result of these changes, the market is set to grow considerably, with some estimates suggesting the global green packaging market will reach $237.8 billion by 2024.

This presents huge opportunities for paper packaging manufacturers to develop packaging for products typically packaged in plastic and for companies to attract consumers searching for eco-friendly options when making a purchase.

What Is The Best Solution For Plastic Free Packaging? 

In recent years there has been an increased awareness of the impact our daily lives have on the environment. Reducing plastic has been a key focal point for many individuals and companies, with a vast number of businesses pledging to reduce their plastic use over the next few years.

Packaging accounts for more than 40 per cent of all plastic usage, and it is time that manufacturers and retail businesses made changes to become more environmentally friendly.

Plastic-free packaging often seems like a real challenge to achieve. However, there are plenty of plastic-free solutions available.

Why switch to plastic-free packaging?

Many people know that plastic isn’t sustainable or good for the environment, but most individuals are not aware of just how much plastic ends up harming the world we live in. Plastic is a convenient packaging material because it is cheap, durable and flexible, and it is so popular that it’s estimated we have used 8.3 million metric tonnes of it since the 1950s.

On top of this, 79% of the plastic produced in the last 70 years has been thrown into landfill or the general environment, with just 9% being recycled and the rest incinerated. Some of this plastic is toxic and can be extremely dangerous to animals in the oceans and across the globe.

Making the switch to plastic-free packaging can be a step in the right direction in reducing this shocking amount of plastic waste in our environment. As a business, it is your responsibility to ensure you are helping your customers to reduce their carbon footprint and operate sustainably through plastic-free packaging. You might be thinking your products need plastic in order to be appropriately packaged, but there are plenty of solutions out there for plastic-free packaging.

What is the best solution for plastic-free packaging?

There is a growing demand for reduction in plastic, and many businesses are struggling to keep up with the demand for plastic-free packaging. Most packaging uses some form of plastic, so what is a reliable and practical plastic-free packaging solution?

It might come as a surprise, but corrugated board could be the answer to all your plastic-free packaging requirements. Corrugated board offers a lot of the same benefits and features as plastic when it comes to packaging, without having a detrimental effect on the environment.

Ditching Plastic download

The benefits of corrugated board

Corrugated board is stable and secure for keeping products safe and free from damage, while also being easy to ship, carry and transport. It is available in many different shapes, sizes and thicknesses making it just as versatile as plastic for packaging solutions.

While plastic does have the added benefit of being shaped and moulded to suit any product perfectly, corrugated board when used properly can be just as customisable and versatile. Bespoke containers can be created from corrugated board as it can be made to suit any product size or shape.

Plastic is often used because it is durable and versatile enough to suit a vast range of products. Corrugated board can be subject to a range of different treatments and coatings to help bolster the strength and versatility of plastic-free packaging. A waterproof material can be used to coat corrugated board, and it can also be made flame resistant, making it an ideal plastic-free packaging choice for a range of industries.

Cardboard also offers a lot of choice by way of design as it can be easily printed on using digital or screen printing methods. Plastic packaging also provides a range of customisable design options, but as corrugated board can be printed on directly, it is cheaper, quicker and more convenient to use.

Is corrugated board a sustainable plastic-free packaging solution?

One of the most significant benefits of corrugated board as plastic-free packaging is that it can be produced from 100% recycled material, as well as be completely recycled after use.

Not only can corrugated board be easily recycled, but it is strong enough to be used time and time again. Compared with plastic, corrugated board is a much more sustainable option for product packaging. It is also a much more cost-effective plastic-free packaging solution as it is relatively cheap to produce and purchase.

Corrugated board is much more lightweight compared with plastic, saving on shipping costs and reducing your company’s fuel consumption. Packaging can be cleverly designed using cardboard to fit product sizes perfectly and save space when shipping, making it an all-round sustainable plastic-free packaging solution.

10 UK Companies Ditching Plastic From Their Packaging

In recent months, the plastic crisis has gained some well-needed traction and more and more companies, and individuals are beginning to understand the importance of ditching plastic for more sustainable materials.

BBC’s Blue Planet has a lot to answer for, with the recent shift in attitude, as it provided the nation with shocking evidence of the damage that plastic has on the environment and the creatures that inhabit it.

With plastic making up 85% of beach litter across the globe, and Britons using 7.7 billion single-use plastic bottles every year, it is no surprise that it is causing havoc on planet earth.

If individuals and brands don’t start ditching plastic soon, then there will be more plastic in the ocean, by weight, than there are fish by 2050.

Here we look at 10 UK companies that are already ditching plastic from their packaging:

10 Companies Ditching Plastic

  • McDonald’s

One of the biggest fast-food chains not just in the UK but in the world, McDonald’s started making tracks to ditching plastic packaging in May this year when they switched to paper straws. As well as making their straws 100% recyclable they have also made the change that customers must request straws instead of giving them out to everyone with their orders, resulting in a considerable drop in consumption.

  • Aldi

The much-loved discount supermarket is making significant changes to their packaging in the UK in their bid for ditching the plastic and becoming more environmentally friendly. They are in the process of introducing recyclable trays for selected fresh produce, which is estimated to save 265 tonnes of packaging in just one year. In addition to ditching plastic, Aldi is also trying to use more recycled plastic in their packaging that can’t be abolished altogether.

  • Iceland

Another supermarket favourite, Iceland has committed to ditching plastic completely within the next five years. The retailer will be replacing plastic packaging with paper and pulp alternatives, which will be 100% recyclable and can be recycled through domestic waste collections as well as in-store recycling facilities.

  • Nestle Waters UK

Bottled water and soft drink manufacturer, Nestle Waters UK, has teamed up with many other brands in the industry including Lucozade Ribena Suntory and Harrogate Water Brands to eliminate plastic packaging waste. They have produced a report alongside the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) revealing a roadmap to ditching plastic by 2025.

  • Pizza Express

Thanks to 5-year-old pizza lover Ava, Pizza Express is also ditching plastic straws in a bid to help animal welfare and the environment. The young girl wrote a letter to the chain explaining her concerns about using plastic straws as ‘they are very bad for animals’, encouraging the restaurant brand to switch to a paper alternative.

  • Marks & Spencer

The clothing and food brand recently joined over 40 other companies in signing a pledge agreeing to ditch the plastic and cut plastic pollution in the next seven years. They will make changes such as ditching plastic packaging that is deemed unnecessary such as for packs of fresh fruit and vegetables.

The UK Plastics Pact covers roughly 80% of all plastic packaging on Britain’s supermarket shelves and includes initiatives such as allowing consumers to bring their own containers to supermarket meat counters.

 

Ditching Plastic download

 

  • Costa

As well as ditching plastic straws for biodegradable alternatives, coffee giant Costa has stated that they intend to review their takeaway coffee cups to find a more environmentally friendly solution. 2.5 billion disposable cups are thrown away every year in the UK, and just 1% of these are currently recycled, so any reduction in this area would be a great help to the environment.

  • Pret a Manger

The global sandwich and coffee franchise has been making big changes to help reduce their plastic footprint in recent months. As well as ditching plastic straws for paper alternatives, they also offer customers a 50p discount in the UK if they bring their own reusable coffee cup in a bid to reduce consumption of takeaway cups.

  • Bacardi

Bacardi created their award-winning ‘Good Spirited’ campaign which was designed to reduce the company’s environmental impact in sourcing, packaging and operations. They began by ditching plastic straws in the UK back in 2016, making them one of the first big brands to jump on the banning plastic straws bandwagon.

  • Hilton

The hotel giant has a significant presence in the UK and has committed to removing over 5 million plastic straws and 20 million plastic water bottles every year across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, a move that will cut Hilton’s global environmental impact in half by 2030.

4 Reasons Why Corrugated Board Is The Answer To The Plastic Problem

It is estimated that eight million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the oceans every single year. With marine life threatened as well as seabirds, with their inadvertent consumption of plastic, it is no surprise that there has been a sharp increase in concern lately. More and more people are becoming worried about the threat of plastic and the environmental devastation that plastic is causing.

With demand for the reduction in plastic growing, consumers are desperate for businesses to come up with better ways to package products. However, what is the solution when almost all packaging seems to use plastic in some form? Well, surprisingly, corrugated board may be the answer to the plastic problem that the world is facing. Here are just four of the reasons why.

Four reasons why corrugated board is the answer to the plastic problem

 

  • Food packaging

 

Plastic is prevalent in supermarkets where lots of food are wrapped or stored in plastic containers for customer convenience. When it comes to fresh food, plastic can help to provide a stable base for the food to prevent damage; it can also help to make it easier when shipping and transporting goods. However, corrugated cardboard can offer the same benefits without the burden of adding more plastic to the environment.

Corrugated board is stable and provides a secure base for food and well as being easy to carry, transport and ship. Lots of fruit suppliers already use corrugated card for this reason. However, corrugated card can be used for a range of different food items. Especially as corrugated board can help to keep moisture away from products, which can increase their lifespan and ensure foods can withstand a long shipping journey.

As corrugated board is incredibly versatile with different thicknesses, shapes and sizes, it makes it incredibly versatile for a range of food items. This means customers can avoid unnecessary plastic when loading up their trolleys.

 

  • Custom creations

 

Plastic is often chosen for packaging as it can be moulded into a range of shapes to suit a range of products. However, corrugated board is just as versatile and customisable. The thickness of corrugated cardboard can be altered to suit different products while the fact it can be cut to any size and create a range of shapes mean it is easy to create a bespoke packaging container using cardboard alone.

What’s more, the corrugated board can receive a range of treatment and coating to help bolster the strength and versatility of the packaging. For safety, corrugated cardboard can be coated with a waterproof material as well as flame resistant material to make it an ideal packaging choice for a range of different industries.

Cardboard can then be printed using digital and screen printing to create a vibrant design for your packaging. This can help you to increase visibility for your brand, become a powerful marketing method and ensure your products and packaging stand out from the crowd. While plastic can also be customised, the fact that you can print directly onto corrugated board means it is cheaper, quicker and more convenient to produce.

 

  • Sustainability

 

Corrugated board can be made from 100% recycled material. Furthermore, it can be completely recycled after use. As well as being recycled, corrugated board is strong enough to be reused many times. In most cases, corrugated cardboard can be folded down flat for storage and then be used again when it is needed.

With sustainability at the forefront of people’s minds, it has never been so important to promote greener materials, products and packaging. With more and more people wanting to veer away from non-degradable plastic, the corrugated board provides the perfect sustainable packaging alternative to plastic.

By printing messages directly onto the cardboard, you can make it clear to customers how sustainable your packaging is and how they can dispose of your packaging after use.

 

  • Cost-effective

 

Corrugated board can be a cost-effective packaging solution for many businesses. Firstly, corrugated cardboard is relatively cheap to produce and budget-friendly to purchase. Secondly, it is lightweight for packaging which may help to lower the total weight of products when shipping. This means that you can achieve savings in shipping costs, whether you use a third-party supplier or by saving money on the fuel used to transport goods.

Furthermore, corrugated cardboard can be shaped to fit custom product sizes, which means you can save space when shipping, helping you to send more items for the same cost which will help your bottom line.

Why Is Cardboard The Best Packaging Material?

Is cardboard the best packaging material? Its popularity is evident but why?

For businesses of any size, you need to be sure that your products are well-protected. Not only do you need to make sure that items have great packaging to prevent damage, but there are also a wealth of other considerations to think about. Aspects of packaging that you may consider could include its environmentally-friendly credentials, aesthetic qualities, practicality and ease of transportation.

Here we look at some of the many reasons that cardboard consistently comes through as an excellent material for packaging

Five reasons why cardboard is the best packaging material

1.     Versatility

Cardboard can be creatively adapted to suit a range of products in varying shapes and sizes. Utilising advanced designs, cardboard packaging can have multi-uses or create forms never thought possible.

In some cases, brands have created their cardboard packaging to offer a further use after packaging. This extends the life of the product and shows the brand’s commitment to less waste. For example, clothes brands can use cardboard packaging which can be transformed into clothes hangers, giving consumers a further use out of their packaging.

With its versatility, you have to option to package many products using the same material. For example, Ribble offer on-demand box making technology, Box on Demand, so you can have the right box for your product and save on wastage.

2.     Ideal branding

While plain cardboard can be an effective packaging design in itself, cardboard can easily be transformed through colour, shape and branding. Cardboard is easy to print on or embossed to create genuinely personal packaging.

Using colours and logos, cardboard can quickly be transformed from dull packaging into vibrant and exciting protection that makes your brand easy to identify. Consider cardboard as a blank canvas, upon which you can convert with your wording and imagery to make your products fly off the shelves.

3.     Recyclable

Another considerable advantage of cardboard packaging is the fact that it is recyclable. For consumers, this brings many benefits as it is easy to dispose of and does not need special treatment to get rid of it. Most councils will pick up cardboard through their recycling collection programme, while there are many places to recycle cardboard across the UK.

What’s more, cardboard can be made of recycled material too. At Ribble, all of our boxes are made from 100% fully recycled material as well as being recyclable at the end of life also.

4.     Cut transportation costs (and the carbon footprint)

As cardboard is lightweight, it makes means the packaging does not add too much to the weight of the product overall. With lighter packaging, it makes products easier to transport and more cost-effective as you save on fuel when you save on weight. By saving on fuel, your transportation costs can be significantly reduced. Not only do you see cost-savings, but you can also reduce your carbon footprint by using less fuel.

In terms of transportation, cardboard is also very durable making it the best packaging material for business. It helps to prevent moisture from infiltrating the product; this is an essential factor for products that need to withstand long transportation times, as well as protecting food products.

5.     Cost-effective

Compared to many other packaging products, cardboard is an extremely viable option for businesses of any size. Cardboard is considered particularly cheap compared to more expensive packaging solutions such as plastic. If assessing solutions such as corrugated cardboard, then these are highly affordable as they require less material than normal cardboard, yet still give robust protection and are lightweight too.

By ordering cardboard in bulk, you can often save considerably on your packaging costs. Also, as cardboard packaging is usually delivered flatpack, you can order in bulk but still have the room to store it, so it is there when you need it, but does not take up an excessive amount of space.

Choosing cardboard for your packaging solution

If you are trying to find the perfect material for your packaging needs, then speak to the experts at Ribble. Ribble offers a wealth of cardboard packaging solutions that are recyclable and versatile. From standard boxes to bespoke packing systems, Ribble can help to ensure you have an innovative packaging solution that meets all your needs. What’s more, Ribble work with all manner of businesses, offering competitive solutions for small and large companies.

Find out more by getting in touch.

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