The world today is probably more aware of the dangers we pose to our environment than ever before. Businesses, governments, and individuals are all involved in seeking ways to reduce our pollution, yet our landfills continue to grow. Somewhere between a fifth and a third of all the material in landfills is packaging. Obviously, having more environmentally friendly packaging, like eco friendly boxes, would go a long way toward helping with this.
Cardboard Is Sustainable
The cardboard box is made of wood. While chopping down forests may not sound particularly environmentally friendly, boxes can be manufactured from managed forests, which are sustainable. Sourcing these boxes from manufacturers that use sustainable materials means a reduction in carbon emissions, responsible sourcing of wood products, protection of biodiversity, and improved protection of old-growth forests.
Also, cardboard is biodegradable. If it is tightly packed together, as it might be in a landfill, this can take a long time. However, a mulched cardboard box, kept damp, will degrade in less than a quarter of a year.
Cardboard Is Recyclable
When most people think of eco friendly custom boxes however, they normally think of recycled material. Cardboard is comparatively easy to recycle. In fact, a large number of the basic corrugated cardboard boxes in use today are manufactured from mostly recycled paper and cardboard. Many developed nations have managed to achieve an over 90% rate for paper and cardboard packaging.
As well as saving space in landfills, recycling reduces the amount of energy needed to produce a new box. Importantly, if the box is recycled locally, there is also a saving in the energy used for transport.
Cardboard Is Reusable
Single-use packaging is not sustainable, it is slowly disappearing as producers, and consumers take note of this. In many countries, for example, single-use plastic bags are no longer available. On the other hand, if it is dry, cardboard tends to be reusable.
Cardboard boxes, in particular, are readily reusable. They retain their structural strength for a considerable period and can be kept flat, to save space, until needed.
Conditions That Compromise Eco-Friendly Status
While the wood used to create boxes can be sustainably sourced and recycled, some processes can challenge their ecologically sound status. Boxes that have been printed will likely have inks that contain chemicals and heavy metals. Some boxes will also be coated in plastic or wax. The use of these additional materials can make recycling impossible.
Bleached paper products are also a problem for environmental conservation efforts. Chlorine used for bleaching releases toxins that can be a danger to the environment and health.
To ensure you are being environmentally conscious, look for manufacturers that rely on sustainable or recycled resources to produce unbleached products. If branding is required, they should use safer alternatives like UV, soy-based, and vegetable-based inks.