Use Corrugated Containers to Help the Environment

The winter holiday season has arrived! Well known to be the biggest shopping season of the year, practically everyone is shopping during the winter months, finding those perfect gifts for their family and friends. However, the largest impact will not be on your wallet but in the landfills.

All those great gifts you bought contain packaging like styrofoam, which can harm the environment. Styrofoam is not like other forms of packaging because it is an oil-based plastic and therefore, not conventionally recyclable. It does not break down in landfills, instead turning into a plastic powder, which threatens local ecosystems. Use corrugated containers to minimize your, and your customers’, impact on the environment this year. The reason lies in how corrugated containers are made.

The Manufacturing Process of Corrugated Cardboard

Corrugated containers, made of cardboard, consist of three layers of Kraft paper, which are pressed together. Kraft paper is made from recycled woodchips and is very strong and tear-resistant. These pressed layers of Kraft paper are glued together and pleated to form their shape, before being cut into a container. 

Just like the corrugated containers it comprises, Kraft paper is very versatile, being used for a container’s lining, layers, and as the corrugating medium, which is the frilled center of a container wall. Corrugated containers are also recyclable, as long as they do not have traces of food or grease on them.

To recycle a corrugated container, one can simply use it as another container, although they are completely recyclable. The percentage of recycled cardboard in a corrugated container depends on the manufacturer and the local laws governing whether someone is allowed to recycle cardboard.

The Manufacturing Process of Styrofoam

Styrofoam is another, very popular, type of packaging that many businesses order and use around the world to keep their products safe during transport. However, styrofoam is also one of the most environmentally damaging forms of packaging.

Styrofoam is a mixture of plastic #6 and expanded polystyrene foam. Essentially, it is an oil-based plastic. Styrofoam packaging is molded into various shapes and containers to provide maximum padding for products. If this is not enough, packaging can include styrofoam “packing peanuts,” which absorb shocks packages get from being shipped and handled, and when they fall or are dented in transit.

Many people believe that styrofoam is disposable, and therefore recyclable, like corrugated containers. This could not be farther from the truth. Since it is oil based, styrofoam is not recyclable. 
Plastics, like styrofoam, do not biodegrade and are harmful to the environment, filling up our landfills.

Even if styrofoam does break down eventually, it will not be subjected a similar process like with corrugated containers. Corrugated cardboard is either recycled to make other corrugated containers, or it rots away before being re-absorbed and used by the Earth. Styrofoam, on the other hand, just breaks down into smaller pieces, eventually becoming a plastic powder. Inhaling this plastic powder is harmful and can negatively affect many ecosystems, as well as our respiratory health.

The difference in environmental impact between two popular types of packaging like Styrofoam and corrugated containers is very large. They simply are not comparable in terms of their effects or re-usability. If you and your customers want to have a positive impact on the environment, reduce your business’s use of styrofoam and increase your use of corrugated containers. Your customers will appreciate the efforts you are putting in to care for the Earth, and they will feel happier knowing their purchases indirectly benefited the environment. The solution is clear: use corrugated cardboard packaging instead of styrofoam, which is very harmful to the environment.

Brown Packaging is located in Burlington, Ontario, and serves clients all across the province, including the Golden Horseshoe and the GTA. For more information on how to order corrugated containers for your business and help save the environment, please visit our website.