UK's Corrugated Industry Continues to Reduce Carbon Footprint

Oct. 28, 2010 - According to the UK's Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI), the corrugated packaging industry has reduced its carbon footprint by 12%.

The evidence for the reduction in corrugated packaging's carbon footprint comes from the European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers (FEFCO) database compiled by an independent consultant, CPI said.

From data gathered in 2006, the consultant calculated in 2008 that the CO2 equivalent of corrugated packaging (its carbon footprint) was 887 kg per ton of board leaving the factory gate.

In 2010, the consultant repeated the calculation, based on 2009 data, and the CO2 equivalent had dropped to 784 kg — a 12% decrease.

The savings were largely the result of less energy usage in the paper mills, CPI said.

“This means that the corrugated industry has already exceeded, way ahead of schedule, the 10% target currently being called for by Courtauld Commitment 2,” said Andrew Barnetson, CPI's corrugated sector manager.

"This is an important fact to communicate because we feel the focus on packaging in Courtauld Commitment 2 is excessive when the real problem lies elsewhere. Packaging is designed to prevent damage to products — damage which is ten times more environmentally significant."

CPI believes that, with WRAP's help, the way is open to move the Courtauld Commitment in a more progressive direction as far as packaging is concerned.

“Everybody agrees that it is essential to use packaging to minimize product damage and wastage,” Barnetson noted. “Everybody also agrees that we need to optimize the use of packaging to achieve that objective.

“Our industry is calling for 'right-weighting' not 'light-weighting.' What we want to do now is move the debate on in such a way that everyone begins to understand that the right corrugated packaging can create huge environmental savings through its overall performance, such as making better use of space to take lorries off the road, not to mention its superb record on recycling rate and recycled content,” Barnetson said.

CPI is the voice of the paper industry in the UK, representing papermakers, tissue manufacturers, corrugated packaging producers and recovered paper merchants. The Confederation represents 75 member companies, with a combined annual turnover of GBP 4 billion and 24,500 personnel.

SOURCE: Confederation of Paper Industries

For more information on WRAP and Courtauld Commitment, go to www.wrap.org.uk