Q.1026:  What makes corrugated board material of choice for packaging?

Ans. Corrugated is an extremely durable, versatile, innovative and lightweight material used for custom-manufactured shipping containers, packaging and point-of-purchase displays.

Corrugated is a complete, high-performance material design, manufacturing and delivery system. Corrugated is the preferred packaging material because it is:

  • Durable
  • Versatile
  • Lightweight
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • High-Tech
  • Customizable
  • Protective
  • Graphically Appealing
  • Cost-Effective

A High-Tech Engineered Material.

What may come as a big surprise to many is that the ever-present corrugated "cardboard box" is high-tech:

  • Ongoing R&D programs continuously improve such characteristics as strength-to-weight ratios, printability, moisture barriers and recyclability.
  • Corrugated components, designs and end products are manufactured on sophisticated, automatic equipment that reduces costs and ensures consistent performance.
  • The vast majority of corrugated products are designed and prototyped with advanced, computer-aided design and manufacturing systems, providing customers with the best and most cost-effective solutions to their packaging challenges.

For more detailed benefit of corrugated box for packaging please visit http://corrugated.org/ViewPage.aspx?ContentID=17

From Corrugated Packaging Alliance web site

What is the carbon footprint of corrugated?

A carbon footprint is a measure of impact on the environment, and in particular climate change. It relates to the amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) produced through burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating, transportation, etc., so it is primarily related to energy consumption.

The carbon footprint is a measurement of all GHGs produced and is measured in units of tons (or kg) of carbon dioxide equivalents.

The corrugated industry LCA shows that the carbon footprint for production, use and EoL management (cradle-to-cradle life cycle) of a 1 kg U.S. industry-average corrugated product is approximately 1 kg of carbon dioxide equivalents. This value applies to the complete life cycle, so any attempt to use it in comparisons would require comparative data for matched system scope, boundaries and functional unit.

A carbon footprint is a one-dimensional measure of environmental impact with limited usefulness, since it does not reflect resource depletion or comparative functional units. Despite its shortcomings, there is a high degree of interest in carbon footprint among customers and NGOs, and this number is sometimes requested.

How does the environmental impact of corrugated packaging compare with other types of packaging?

The corrugated LCA did not attempt to compare corrugated with other materials or products. While it’s natural to want to make comparisons, it’s not simple. Size, manufacturing conditions, application, distance transported, EoL management and many other situation-specific factors affect a product’s environmental impact. To compare the results of the corrugated industry’s LCA against another product, one would need to first establish comparable functional units for study, system scope, boundaries, etc., and other parameters as defined in ISO 14040 guidelines, including critical review by a panel of experts. While this study did not look at comparative data, its results can be used in future comparative studies. The CPA also may consider a future comparative study.

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