Corrugated Shipping Containers vs Pallets
Corrugated Board and Box Conversion
Corrugated paper, made from trees, a natural, renewable resource, is sometimes manufactured using high percentages of recycled fiber, and recycling is mandated by some agencies such as California's Integrated Waste Management Board.
Corrugated stock is often reused multiple times, and is recycled more than any other packaging material used today. Cradle-to-cradle environmental stewardship is promoted in much of the corrugated production industry, from management of renewable resources, to responsible manufacturing processes, to widespread recovery and recycling.
Corrugated Container Recycling StatisticsLed by nearly 11 percent net exports increase, recovery of old corrugated containers (OCC) rose 2.0 percent in 2006 to 25.2 million tons. During the same time, U.S. containerboard consumption rose 1.7 percent. As a result, the OCC recovery rate increased to 76.4 percent in 2006.
Testing labs for voluntary repulping and recycling standards are provided on the Corrugated Containers Council website.
Old corrugated containers (OCC) are turned into:
Product Characteristics of Corrugated BoardCorrugated cardboard is made of paper and has an arched layer, called "fluting," between smooth sheets, called "liner." The corrugated cardboard most commonly used to make boxes has one layer of fluting between two smooth sheets. But there are many types of corrugated available,
Corrugated is a durable, versatile, innovative and lightweight material used for custom-manufactured shipping containers, packaging and point-of-purchase displays, as well as non-traditional applications ranging from pallets, children's toys and furniture.
Sustainable Packaging MetricsSome of the characteristics and metrics used to consider viability of packaging materials include:
Plastic containers are reusable more than corrugated, but they also require petroleum materials, and plastics enter the waste stream and cause long term problems. Corrugated papers are readily recyclable if they are not wax coated. Wax coatings cannot be recycled because they do not dissolve in water, so they create problems in the repulping process. The industry has worked diligently to develop recyclable alternatives, many of which are now becoming commercially available.
The corrugated industry developed a new recyclability standard that allows these alternatives to be tested, proven and certified recyclable if they pass the required protocol. Certified materials should be marked with one of these symbols:
Competitive Technologies for Shipping Containers and PackagingRecently, a new packaging approach, the returnable plastic crate, or RPC, has entered the shipping container niche to compete with corrugated boxes.
Full Disclosure Comparison SoftwareThe Full Disclosure software package was developed by the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and the Fibre Box Association(FBA) to provide package buyers and users with an objective and systematic analysis of shipping container alternatives. The Full Disclosure software provides corrugated box users with an objective comparison of RPCs and corrugated containers without exaggeration or incomplete information.
Contact your box supplier to arrange for Full Disclosure cost analysis, or call the Fibre Box Association (317) 805-4750.
Timeline of Paper's HistoryThe Corrugated Packaging Alliance (CPA) provides a nice
Corrugated Packaging Resources
Fibre Box Association (FBA)
For more information on recycling visit: EPA's Wastewise site
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