The DeLine Box Commitment to Sustainability
Everyone is talking about sustainability. The funny thing is that the corrugated packaging industry has long been at the forefront of the reuse, recycle and re-make movement. Scrap from box companies is always sent back to paper mills to be reused in making new liner board. We’ve taken that premise a few steps further by recycling nearly everything we use in our facility, including plastic strapping, stretch film and even our printing ink. We are also Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certified.
What is Sustainable Packaging?
Sustainable packaging is designed to reduce wastage and conserve important resources. There are three main elements to this:
- Reduce — a large percentage of the time packaging is designed to be larger than really necessary. Manufacturers use this technique to make products appear bigger than they actually are and also to make them more eye-catching. However this is a main cause of wastage. Simply by reducing the size of packaging a vast amount of paper, cardboard and plastic can be saved every year.
- Reuse — many modern materials can only be used once. This means they have to then go straight to landfill once throw away. By selectively choosing materials that can be reused manufacturers can contribute greatly to reducing wastage. For example paper products can be reused successfully up to 7 different times.
- Recycle — by recycling materials we can make sure they are reintroduced into the industrial chain and reused for another purpose. This helps to reduce the strain on the planet’s fragile resources and save on wastage. When we recycle materials such as paper, plastic and glass we can are actively working to reduce landfill and conserve valuable materials.
What Makes Packaging Green?
- Is the packaging beneficial, safe, and healthy for individuals and communities throughout its life cycle?
- Does the packaging meet market criteria for performance and cost?
- Is the packaging sourced, manufactured, transported and recycled using renewable energy?
- Does the packaging maximize the use of renewable or recycled source materials?
- Is the packaging manufactured using clean production technologies and best practices?
- Is the packaging made from materials healthy in all probable end-of-life scenarios?
- Is the packaging physically designed to optimize materials and energy?
- Is the packaging effectively recovered and utilized in biological and/or industrial cradle-to-cradle cycles?
Corrugated: The Sustainable Packaging Material
- Corrugated is the most-recycled packaging material on earth, with a recovery rate over 78% in the United States.
- 78.3% of all corrugated was recovered in the US for recycling in 2007 (25.6 million tons), up from 76.3% in 2006.
- The average corrugated box consists of 43% recycled fiber, (AF&PA).
- The fiber in used corrugated is recovered and reused to make new products: 59.9% of recovered corrugated is used to make new containerboard. 15.3% goes into recycled paperboard, and exports account for 21.2%, (AF&PA).
- Corrugated can be recycled an average of 7 times before the fibers become too short and they are filtered out as sludge during the pulping process. The sludge is then ready for disposal, but often has one more usage and that is as daily cover at landfills in place of soil.
- U.S. corrugated manufacturing is a $24.7 billion industry, contributing to the GDP of America while supporting distribution of products throughout the world.
- Corrugated is manufactured in the U.S.A., where approximately 1,300 facilities provide jobs and benefits to over 80,000 employees and their families.
- Water-based inks are now used almost exclusively for printing graphics on corrugated containers, avoiding the use of lead-based inks and petroleum-based solvents which pollute the air and the water used to wash down printing equipment between color changes.
- Corrugated is vital to the distribution systems in the U.S. It is the most frequently used shipping material because it is cost-effective, lightweight, functional and versatile. Its use contributes to more cost-efficient and fuel-efficient packaging of products from point of origin to point of sale and end use.
- Cost Analysis Case Scenarios have been conducted comparing corrugated shipping containers to RPCs (returnable plastic containers). Corrugated is more cost-effective in a total system cost analysis. To view the case studies, follow this link.
- More wood grows in our nation’s forests than is harvested (about 49% more).
- On an inflation-adjusted basis, the average cost of a corrugated container has decreased 11.7 percent from 1997 to 2007, (Fiber Box Association).
- Corrugated packaging is custom designed for each product it protects, allowing the use of minimized materials and the most efficient space utilization possible by reducing “head space” within the package and maximizing cube efficiency in trucks.
- Corrugated has the best recycling rate of any packaging material used today.
- Asian corrugated boxes, which have been recycled many times due to chronic virgin fiber shortages in those countries, tend to be weaker and less resistant to water than U.S. corrugated boxes. The fiber quality of Asian OCC is so low that many American recycling mills exclude it from their processes.
- The single largest export from the United States was old corrugated containers and waste paper being shipped off to our Asian trading partners.
What happens to old corrugated containers?
Old corrugated containers (OCC) are turned into:
- Containerboard (59.9 percent)
- Recycled paperboard (15.3 percent)
- Tissue (less than 1 percent)
- Packaging and industrial converting (1.6 percent)
- Exports to other countries (21.2 percent)
- Other (1.1 percent)
Facts about recycling 1 ton of corrugated cardboard
- Saves 17 trees from having to be cut down and used for pulp
- Saves 7,000 gallons of water
- Cuts pollution 95%
- Saves 11 barrels – 462 gallons – of oil
- Saves more than 3 cubic yards of landfill space
- Corrugated can be recycled an average of 7 times before the fibers become to short and they are filtered out as sludge during the pulping process. The sludge is then ready for disposal, but often has one more usage and that is as daily cover at landfills in place of soil.