Packaging is Wasteful and Unnecessary
As our awareness of the scale of plastic pollution increases, many people are taking a negative view of packaging. Is this opinion justified?
Benefits of Packaging
In opposition to the popular belief that packaging generates waste, packaging often plays a vital role in reducing waste. The majority of products require some level of packaging for protection during transit, storage and distribution.
Packaging minimises breakages, damage, contamination and spillages. Without it many more goods wouldn’t be fit for purpose. What’s more packaging extends shelf life, resulting in less waste. Finally, packaging provides customers with information: safety, nutritional, storage, handling and assembly, all of which contribute to the goods being handled and used appropriately.
Is Corrugated Cardboard a Sustainable Packaging Material?
The most effective way to reduce waste is to support the circular economy. This means opting for sustainably sourced, recyclable packaging materials.
Corrugated cardboard is used to package 30% of all UK goods and protects 75% of goods in transit. As a manufacturer of cardboard boxes, we know corrugated cardboard packaging is sustainable, but many customers are concerned about trees being chopped down to produce paper products.
Trees Cut Down to Produce Cardboard Boxes
It’s true that an average of 24% of fibres used in corrugated cardboard boxes comes from virgin fibres, so trees are chopped down. To put your mind at ease, we can also let you know that more trees are planted in European forests than are chopped down. We’re not talking a few more; an area equivalent of 45 thousand tennis courts are planted with trees daily.
European forests are growing and the vast majority of UK paper fibres come from these sustainable sources. These fibres are mixed with 76% recycled fibres to create standard corrugated cardboard.
What’s more, over 80% of the UK’s paper based packaging is collected for recycling. Old cardboard boxes are reduced down to fibres that can be reused in new cardboard boxes.
Can’t We Simply Ditch All Single Use Plastic Packaging?
There is certainly a reasoned argument in favour of reducing single use plastics, however we can’t stop using them completely overnight. Manufacturers need viable alternatives before we can expect a significant change.
New innovations are providing biodegradable replacements for plastic and a number of examples are showcased at the 2018 Packaging Innovations Exhibition. At present, these are largely in the early stages of development. They need investment to ensure they can be produced on the necessary scale to meet demand at a cost effective price.