Why do We Choose Paper Boxes and Cartons

The cartonboard and carton industry have a great environmental story to tell. Cartons are made from a renewable resource, compostable and easily recyclable, with decreasing production emissions.
The original raw material used for carton manufacture is wood fibre from sustainably managed forests. Additionally, at the end of life, cartons are collected and recycled and form a secondary raw material. About 49% of cartons in Europe are made from virgin fibre and 51% from recycled fibre.

Security is becoming increasingly important throughout the supply chain. Paper boxes can be designed to incorporate a wide range of security systems, based on both covert and overt technologies. Designs can include tamper-evidence, child-resistance or other security benefits through tagging mechanisms, creative constructional design as well as print and ink system technologies. The variety of these systems also helps in reducing losses providing brand owners and retailers with greater levels of confidence. The increasing problem of counterfeiting can also be helped using the technology available to carton and cartonboard manufacturers and this offers consumers confidence in the products they buy.

Cartons, in particular, contribute a very small percentage of the price paid by the consumer at the point of purchase – less than 5 % for most products and for some products, such as medicines, less than 0.1 %. Would prices fall if there was no packaging? No – prices would rise! Without the benefits of modern packaging, supermarkets could not handle, store and display the range of products they now offer and the cost of transportation and storage together with handling at the point of sale would inevitably rise. The environmental impact of packaging as a result of its manufacture and use, together with the implications of its ultimate disposal, must be balanced against the benefits it provided in preventing the waste of more expensive resources, especially of food.

Packaging, including cartons, is key to protecting the resources embedded in manufactured goods.  This is especially true in the food industry, where dealing with the issue of Food Waste and wasted resources, is becoming a priority.

Cartonboard packaging adds value to a product; increasing its overall resource efficiency through reducing food waste. By protecting food and reducing food waste, cartons contribute to more sustainable consumption and benefit society by making our modern, convenience-driven lifestyles possible. In Europe, 62% of folding cartons produced are used to package food.

The original resource of the cartonboard industry is the natural, renewable forest. European forests used by the paper and board industry are sustainable. Every year new growth exceeds the wood harvested by an area equivalent to over 500,000 football pitches. The volume of European forests doubled from 1950 to 2000.

Paper and board packaging is easy to collect and recycle. In recycled cartonboard production, fibres can be recycled more than 25 times2 , with an input of fresh fibres from virgin fibre products which provide a valuable raw material for recycled products. Production of packages with recycled content would not be possible without virgin fibres, and it is only with a simultaneous presence on the market of primary and secondary fibres that a viable fibre cycle that is both economic and ecological, can be maintained.

Cartonboard manufacturers aim for continuous improvement by using less wood and energy and so becoming more resource-efficient. Also, the development of lighter base weights means the use of less packaging overall and less waste.