A good package protects and enhances the product inside. This has always been true.
But in today's competitive market, a better package also protects and enhances the world outside.
Today's consumers are challenging manufacturers to demonstrate a tangible commitment to the future of our planet and its resources. The paperboard packaging industry is helping you meet that challenge with innovative and environmentally responsible solutions.
Paperboard packaging's familiar list of customer benefits — versatility, stackability, billboard effect — includes one additional attribute that speaks right to the core concerns of the environmentally conscious consumer: sustainability.
Paper fiber derives from trees — a growing and renewable resource — and can be recycled multiple times. Paperboard packaging, whether made from virgin or recycled fiber, is therefore uniquely positioned to help you achieve your long-term environmental and business sustainability goals.
Renewable by Nature
Paperboard comes from an infinitely renewable resource. The United States forest products industry plants an average of 1.7 million trees every day — five new trees for every tree harvested. The amount of standing timber in U.S. forests has increased by nearly 40 percent over the past half-century, and by 10 million between 1987 and 2002. But sustainable forestry goes beyond reforestation. It encompasses a commitment to the long-term health of the entire forest environment: the soil, the wildlife and other plants, and to the quality of the air and water. The American forest products industry is working hard to nurture the future health of America's forest ecosystems through company programs, industry-wide initiatives and partnerships with government agencies and environmental groups.
A Recycling Leader
More than 53 percent of American consumers have access to paperboard recycling programs, up from 46 percent in 2000. Paper and paperboard represent approximately three-quarters of all packaging recovered for recycling in the United States. With a record recovery rate of 53.4 percent for 2006, the paper industry is well on its way to reaching its goal of a 55 percent recovery rate by the year 2012. What's more, some grades of paperboard now contain 100 percent recycled fibers, and 80 percent of the nation's paper mills use recovered fiber in the production of new paper and paperboard.
Doing More With Less
Paperboard's contributions to source reduction go beyond the production of innovative, material- and space-efficient packaging. Virtually all paper mills use 100% of the wood fiber (virgin or recycled) while using less water and fewer chemicals than before. Wood wastes and byproducts of the pulping process are routinely converted to energy, reducing our industry's reliance on high-priced, nonrenewable fossil fuels. This "biomass" energy supplies approximately two-thirds of the energy used to make paperboard, contributing to paperboard's cost-competitiveness.
- The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is a fully independent certification program that promotes sustainable forest management and procurement of wood and fiber, public reporting, and continuous environmental improvement. By taking a holistic approach to the question of sustainability — encompassing economic, environmental, cultural and legal issues — SFI provides a practical and verifiable roadmap to longterm sustainability.
- A leading wholesaler of top-quality baked goods has introduced a package that doubles as a baking tray. This innovative and economical solution, centered on a paperboard tray layered with non-porous polyester film and heat-resistant foil, allows the company's cakes and pies to travel from the oven to the consumer's table in a single container.
- In 1990, there were only two milk-carton-and-drink-box recycling programs in the United States. Today, thanks to industry efforts, over 18 million households in 23 states have access to curbside recycling programs that accept these containers.
- A leading global packager has unveiled a renewable fiber-based alternative to plastic clamshells. Excluding its plastic bubble, the security package replaces PVC with a tear-proof paperboard panel containing up to 45 percent recycled fiber by weight and reducing plastic content by up to 68 percent. Equally encouraging, the carton's developer recently conducted a series of focus groups in which consumers found the paperboard package safer to open and generally preferable over a plastic clamshell.
- Another global packager is powering its mills using a combination of steam and electricity, thereby burning less fuel and significantly lowering greenhouse gas emissions. The company is also expanding the biorefinery capabilities of its mills.
- A major producer has used advanced technology to reduce the basis weight of its paperboard used for gabletop cartons by 12 percent without a loss of performance characteristics.
- Today's conventional paper cups are coated with LDPE, an oil-based plastic. But a handful of paperboard producers are marketing a cup stock coated with PLA — a biodegradable polymer derived from corn starch.