How Sustainable is the Packaging Industry

April 2, 2019 by Erin Behan

Earth Day is just around the corner on April 22, 2019, making April the perfect month to reflect on the environmental sustainability of the print for packaging industry. At Distinct Packaging, we keep the health of the environment top-of-mind in both our corrugated and paperboard packaging products. We value a healthy environment, and we believe that being kind to our planet can be good for business too.

First, let's address a few frequently asked questions about Distinct Packaging's custom boxes:

Recyclable custom boxes

Do the customized boxes you offer use recycled materials?
They do. All corrugated and paper-based materials are from FSC or SFI certified suppliers in North America. Whenever possible, we source from local mills with the highest available recycled content. Our Kraft corrugated is made from 100% post consumer paper.

Do you use recyclable material to package and ship my boxes?
Yes, the boxes used to ship your custom order and the padding inside the boxes are made from 100% recyclable paper and corrugated material. This lightweight box also saves you on shipping costs and requires less fuel consumption, which is better for the environment.

Custom recyclable tuck boxes

Are your inks safe for the environment?
We use HP HDR230 Scitex Inks, which have received the UL Greenguard Gold Certification, meet AgBB criteria and are deinkable/recyclable. They are low-odor and are designed for indoor applications.

Custom recyclable pizza boxes

Are your pizza boxes food safe?
Yes, all of our custom-printed pizza boxes meet FDA regulations for food contact packaging and the USDA's Dairymen's surface swab standard. Keep in mind that while our corrugated material can touch food directly, the ink cannot. This means you should only print on the outside of the pizza box if you plan on using it for food.

The importance of paper and cardboard recycling to Distinct Packaging
At Distinct Packaging, we use cardboard and paperboard boxes with the highest possible amount of recycled materials. In keeping with industry standards, our paper pulp is sourced in a way that’s respectful of the environment using managed forests. Both the boxes we sell and the boxes we use to send shipments out to customers in can be recycled themselves, ensuring environmental sustainability on all sides.

The advantage of a custom box for the environment
One advantage of customizing a box with Distinct Packaging is that your customers are more likely to reuse a cool-looking box before it heads to the recycling bin. The more uses your box gets before being recycled, the more environmentally friendly your box becomes. See Second Life Packaging Ideas to Encourage Box Reuse for more ideas on extending the life of your custom box by incorporating cool design features.

The lowdown on how much cardboard really gets recycled
Of course not everything that can be recycled is recycled by consumers, but there's good news on the paper front, as it's a highly recycled material. It's estimated that paper accounts for about half of all recyclables in the United States by weight. To put it in numbers, about 43 million tons of paper and paperboard were recovered in 2013, a recycling rate of about 63 percent, according to the EPA.

The future of the corrugated packaging industry
That's important because with the rise of online shopping and home delivery of all sorts of goods (from groceries to household items to pet food), demand for corrugated packaging is expected to increase. In its report, The Future of Corrugated Board Packaging to 2019, Smithers Pira estimates that global demand will "increase by an average of more than 4 percent annually over the next five years, and will amount to almost 115 million tons of converted material worth by 2019."

How to put environmentally sustainable packaging to work for you
To be part of the environmental solution, head over to Distinct Packaging today and create custom packaging that's right for your business or personal project.
Erin Behan

Written by Erin Behan

Erin Behan is an L.A.-based writer and editor who considers fine paper one of life's little pleasures.

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