In our previous post, we explored how polybags can be considered a sustainable choice in packaging consumables. Now, let’s turn our attention to sustainable paper packaging and an environmentally friendly and effective packaging alternative.
How Paper Can Be an Effective Solution for Sustainable Packaging
Sustainable packaging ensures environmentally friendly materials and practices utilize packaging solutions that have minimal impact on the environment. Adapting to consumer demands for “green” products, companies are turning to sustainable packaging alternatives that aim to reduce waste and pollution.
Recent polls have uncovered shifts and expectations in consumer preference for sustainable packaging:
- 87% prefer paper-based packaging
- 79% have access to residential/curbside recycling programs
- A Harris Poll survey found that 78% of Americans wish more brands used paper packaging (such as cardboard boxes, paper mailers, or paper fill inside the package) instead of plastic.
Given its versatility, paper can be an effective solution for sustainable packaging due to its eco-friendly traits like renewability, biodegradability, and recyclability.
Paper Recyclability Testing and Certifications
While widely assumed as recyclable, not all paper packaging qualifies as recyclable. Third-party tests – such as the 4Evergreen or Fibre Box Association (FBA) voluntary standard tests, which can qualify paper as certified recyclable.
FBA Parts 1 and 2
FBA features two levels of testing: Part 1 tests for paper repulpability (ability to dissolve in water) and Part 2 tests for paper recyclability.
FBA Part 1, Repulpability Testing
FBA Part 1 involves a pass or fail test to determine the fiber yield to see if the paper can be repulped into another product (i.e., if the fiber is available for recycling).
For example, paper packaging that contains an adhesive as a sealant to close the package can be tested for repulpability. If the repulpability score is very high during the tests, it means the adhesive is released from the paper fiber and is available for recycling into another product. However, if the repulbability score is low and the paper fails the tests, it means the adhesive is too aggressive and doesn’t release enough from the fiber to qualify as repulpable. Utilizing eco-friendly adhesives is an ideal solution for sustainable paper packaging as they are soluble in water and ensures a clean re-pulping process.
FBA Part 2, Recyclability Testing
The FBA Part 2 recyclability test, also a pass or fail test, is a longer and more rigorous test than the FBA Part 1 for Repulpability. FBA Part 2 gauges the paper’s strength and optical and surface properties to determine if the fiber is good for reuse in paper/paperboard.
Western Michigan University (WMU) offers the FBA parts 1 and 2 paper repulbability and recyclability testing and certification program. In addition, WMU is a partner organization of the How2Recycle program. Paper packaging that successfully passes parts 1 and 2 of the FBA tests from WMU qualify for use of the How2Recycle logo.
Paper Packaging: A Protective and Durable Packaging Choice
In addition to caring for the environment, a sustainable paper package can protect the goods it carries throughout the supply chain. Creating a paper package that is sturdy enough to withstand the rigors of the shipping process includes both tests and coatings to protect it from its environment.
Paper is a Strong Material
Do you ever wonder how your mail or packages stay intact during transit? The secret lies in the paper’s composition. Tests like ISTA 6 Flexible SIOC and TAPPI 403 Burst strength can determine just how strong a package’s paper really is. To increase its strength, some packages feature heavier paper basis weights, or even a 2-ply layer composition.
Want to protect your package from moisture or weather during delivery? Consider a water-based coating that’s both recyclable and durable. With these techniques, you can rest assured your paper packaging is up to the challenges (and weather) posed by the supply chain.
The Power of Paper: An Effective Solution for Sustainable Packaging
The use of paper as a sustainable packaging material offers many benefits. From its biodegradability, and recyclability to being a cost-effective, and customizable solution, paper offers a versatile and eco-friendly alternative to conventional packaging materials. Moreover, the growing demand for sustainable packaging has spurred innovation in the paper industry, resulting in eco-friendly packaging solutions. As we continue to explore sustainable packaging alternatives, it’s clear paper will continue to play a crucial role in shaping the future of packaging.
Tension Packaging & Automation: Your Partner in Sustainability
Partnering with Tension Packaging & Automation for sustainable paper packaging solutions can be a smart choice for your business. Why? We. Know. Paper: Our parent company, Tension Corporation, was established in 1886 and is the second-largest national envelope manufacturer in the U.S.
We have deep, strong relationships with large paper mills, and through these partnerships we can help supply your sustainable paper packaging needs. Our team is well-versed in paper composition, features, specifications, and coatings best suited for packaging applications. Contact us today to get the conversation started.