According to the statistics the corrugated sector reduced its carbon footprint by a further 4.8% over the three years from 2009 to 2011 following a cut of almost 12% in the previous three-year cycle.
The average carbon footprint of corrugated packaging is now 746 kg/t, compared to 784 kg/t for the period 2006-08. Those savings have been achieved through reductions in energy consumption and the industry’s use of recycled materials for the production of new corrugated packaging which – across Europe – rose from 82% in 2009 to 85% last year.
Andy Barnetson, director of packaging affairs at the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI), said: “These latest figures from FEFCO highlight the huge steps the corrugated industry is taking to protect the environment, through extensive improvements in the manufacturing process. Corrugated packaging has superb environmental credentials and this is being recognised in both the supply chain and by consumers. However, the industry is not complacent. The UK corrugated sector is renowned for innovation and will continue to explore ways of reducing the carbon footprint of its products still further.”
Corrugated packaging protects around 75% of goods in transit and has led the way on issues such as lightweight packaging and space efficiency in stores and trucks, which has resulted in fewer lorries on the road. The majority of the product is manufactured from recycled material and where virgin fibre is used, it typically comes from sustainably managed forests, using fast-growing softwoods such as pine and spruce.
The CPI continued: “This commitment to protecting forests is backed by significant investment in advanced technology by corrugated manufacturers to ensure that the processes involved meet the most stringent requirements of environmental legislation.
“This latest reduction in its carbon footprint confirms that the corrugated packaging industry’s resolve to continue to reduce its impact on the planet is unwavering, proving that environmental concerns and economical packaging are not incompatible.”
Image – Corrugated packaging now protects three quarters of goods in transit.