Sustainable Box Packaging
A trip to the store brings the typical consumer face to face with a wide array of products using different packaging strategies and advertising claims.
Over the past few decades, changes in product packaging, and more currently product package recycling efforts, continue to reflect environmental concerns.
Advertisers commonly market products using variations of green and environmentally friendly themes. Package labels, especially labels on box packages tend to promote a variety of environment claims.
Packaging content tends to consistently receive a significant portion of attention whenever sustainable packaging issues arise.
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program participation label represents one of many ways producers advertise their environmental credentials.
The SFI label promotes the package fiber content as being sourced from a certified sustainable forestry participant. Other organizations such as GreenBlue/Industry sponsored How 2 Recycle label promote their own industry standard set of recycling labels
Pick up any couple or three boxed products and another type of content label system, paperboard and post-consumer content, might be readily visible.
Packaging containing 100% recycled paperboard means little more than the package production process started with scrap material retrieved from a factory floor.
Box packaging with labels describing a percent of post-consumer content refer to the amount of recycled material used for production.
Which practice is better?
From an industry perspective, increased efficiency means increased competitiveness. The American Forest & Paper Association reports that, "during the past ten years, recovered paper accounted for three quarters of the industry's incremental fiber consumption".
The AFPA also notes that the greatest percentage (44.8%) of the recovered paper was used for container board, the type used in packaging. (Paper Recovery Progress Report).
Recovering waste from timber production also translates into less waste finding its way to some landfill.
Consumer and environment groups, on the other hand, while not opposed to increased industry efficiency efforts, warn of consumer confusion because of different labeling systems.
Increasing the post-consumer recycled content of a box package represents a reasonable first step in any package sustainability initiative.
More recent box packaging initiative balance out box content issues with box recycling issues. Increasingly, businesses are investing time discovering the latest technology changes that make box package sorting and recycling profitable enterprises.
As box package recycling rates increase, the supply of recycled material available to the box package manufacturers will ultimately make the conflict between the recycled paperboard and post-consumer content moot, with most future box packaging created from post-consumer recycled content.
© 2001-2012. Patricia A. Michaels