The use of recyclable alternatives to waxed corrugated has grown dramatically as suppliers and retailers increase emphasis on sustainability. In 2008, the corrugated industry shipped more than doubled the amount of boxes using recyclable wax alternatives shipped in 2002. Progress has been made in replacing all types of wax treated boxes (cascaded, impregnated, curtain-coated) with recyclable treated boxes.
International Paper (IP), a member of the Fibre Box Association (FBA), has experienced success in the rollout and commercialization of its ClimaSeries® family of wax alternatives. “We have seen interest in recyclable products at all levels of the supply chain, and demand is growing,” said Pat Pochiro, Marketing Manager at IP. “All our recyclable products have passed the FBA protocol for recyclability and repulpability; this allows us to issue certificates to our customers assuring them the product meets the standard set by the FBA,” added Pat. Products are available to replace wax-impregnated medium, curtain-coated liners, and wax-cascaded cartons. Use of the wax alternative cartons has grown in multiple end-use segments such as poultry, produce, and seafood.
One such adopter of wax alternative packaging is Ocean Mist Farms. Ocean Mist was looking for an alternative to its wax-cascaded carton used for products such as broccoli, celery, and romaine lettuce. In early 2009, Ocean Mist began testing a wax alternative package called ClimaProof® for several products and was pleased with the results from the recyclable carton.
“ClimaProof cartons give us the opportunity to offer our trade customers an environmentally friendly packaging option for our hydro-cooled and iced product. We’ve been able to give our trade customers quantifiable improvements to their own carbon footprint simply with their purchase of Ocean Mist Farms commodities that are packed in a ClimaProof carton versus the traditional, industry standard of a waxed carton.” – Kori Tuggle, Marketing Manager Ocean Mist Farms.
Corrugated has been a proven packaging material for many years due to its design flexibility, ready availability, and cost-effective performance. One of the most valued features of corrugated packaging is its ability to be custom designed to suit specific applications, whatever the product and supply chain’s unique requirements.
For example, in environments where protection from water, ice, and moisture is needed (such as for shipping broccoli or certain other fresh produce, meat or poultry), waxed corrugated has historically been the best solution. While waxed corrugated packaging is a proven performer, retailers’ desires for more sustainable and recyclable packaging have led to development of new wax alternatives. To assure that packaging meets claims of repulpability and recyclability the corrugated industry developed standard testing and certification procedures in 2005. They require these alternatives to be tested and allow them to be certified recyclable if they pass the required protocol.
A poster is available for retailers to remind workers to watch for the recyclable symbol and separate boxes that can be recycled from those that cannot. “We are encouraged to see successful applications of these recyclable alternatives,” said Dwight Schmidt, executive director of the Corrugated Packaging Alliance and president of the Fibre Box Association (FBA). “It’s good for the corrugated industry and its customers; as these recyclable alternatives make their way into the marketplace, we have an opportunity to improve sustainability for our customers and retailers across the supply chain. It also improves our ability to recover and recycle these packages – an economic and environmental win-win for everyone.”
Corrugated leads all packaging materials in recycling with a current recovery rate of more than 80%. Supermarkets are the leaders in this effort, recovering more than 90 percent of their used corrugated to generate substantial revenue and improve store profitability.
Supermarkets could increase revenues by requesting recyclable alternatives to waxed containers, and thereby recycling even more of their used corrugated.
Source: International Paper press release