How Sustainable is Paperboard Packaging?

In today's industry, there is an increasing demand for environmentally friendly packaging and because of that, there is more pressure on suppliers to improve packaging sustainability.

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Paperboard is a very sustainable material as it is made from trees and can easily be recycled. These trees come from sustainable farms that plant, harvest, and replant the trees that are specifically grown for packaging and other consumables. According to International Paper, about 4 million trees are planted 3-4 times more than what is harvested. Ultimately, these carefully maintained tree farms contribute more trees to create a balanced ecosystem. Wood is a renewable source that has a minimal impact on society, and manufacturers can increase their sustainability by finding ways to minimize water and energy consumption while using this material.

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There are two main organizations that help keep our forests flourishing and sustainable. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) sets the standards for the way a forest should be managed. Standards for certification are high, but their stamp of approval ensures that the materials you receive come from a sustainable source. The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is an international organization that works with the entire supply chain to guarantee that sustainable forestry needs are met.

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Paperboard is highly recyclable since it is made out of organic material. It can be recycled multiple times and about 75% of paperboard products come back in to be recycled. In this chart you can see the amount of each substrate produced in the year 2012 and how much of it was recovered for reuse. Paper and paperboard have the highest percentage of materials recovered in recycling. Over 75% of all paper-based packaging is recycled, and much of that is recycled directly back into new packaging materials. This makes paperboard a sustainable choice for packaging and helps take a step forward for a greener world for generations to come. It meets the current needs for packaging material, but does not do so at the expense of our social or ecological future.

To learn more about the sustainability of paperboard check out the free trial of our Paperboard Cartons course here.