Paper360 - September/October 2015 - (Page 40)

the bottom line | KNOWLEDGE BUILDER The Sustainable Corrugated Industry DENNIS COLLEY The first corrugated box was produced in the United States in 1895. Today, it's estimated that 90 percent of all products manufactured in the U.S. ship in a corrugated box sometime during their life cycle from manufacturer to end user. Yet, we tend to take the corrugated box for granted. It is cost-effective, protective, easily shipped, has retail appeal, and is sustainable and clean. In the produce industry, it's this last attribute that has gained recent attention. For growers, shippers and packers, food safety is essential and always top of mind, but what about the cleanliness of containers used to ship produce? The corrugated industry works hard to deliver containers that are free of foreign contamination to their customers. But there's another component of clean not seen by the naked eye called bacteria. Is bacteria present on the inside surfaces of boxes? To answer these questions, the corrugated industry recently commissioned third-party testing and analysis that confirmed 100 percent of tested corrugated containers met acceptable sanitation levels. Experts examined 720 swab samples taken from containers produced by six different corrugated manufacturers at grower/shipper locations in three different U.S. regions: the Northwest, California and Florida. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not have guidelines for packaging bacterial levels. Samples were tested using the cleanliness threshold of 1,000 colony forming units (CFU) as defined by Dr. Keith Warriner from the University of Guelph, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, and the New South Wales Food Authority. One hundred percent of the evaluated samples were below 1,000 CFU per swab, confirming that corrugated containers provided for food packaging meet acceptable sanitation criteria at the point of use. Typical corrugated manufacturing practices are responsible for the low levels of bacteria. 40 Corrugated containers are engineered for single-use specifically for the product they contain. They're designed to cushion and protect products and at the same time optimize fiber usage and reduce weight and air shipped, leading to fewer loads. After use, there's nothing to wash. The corrugated box is returned to the paper mill where the recycling process greatly reduces bacterial loading. Nearly 90 percent of corrugated shipping containers produced in the U.S. are recovered for recycling through strong commercial and residential collection programs. Most retailers have backroom balers used to bale corrugated that is then sold to generate revenue and improve store profitability. This continuous cycle of using boxes, recycling them and then creating new boxes, not only translates into package cleanliness, it Paper360º SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2015 also contributes to the sustainability of the corrugated industry, which has a long history of responsible environmental stewardship. Corrugated containers are made from a renewable resource, and the corrugated industry remains committed to improving its overall footprint. The first ever industry-wide life cycle assessment was published in 2010 with an update last summer showing reductions in 10 impact categories, including a 32 percent reduction in global warming potential. All of this, along with a lot of innovation along the way, contributes to making corrugated boxes unsung heroes. Thanks to Dennis Colley, executive director of the Corrugated Packaging Alliance (CPA), for this article. For more information visit:

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Paper360 - September/October 2015

Over the Wire
Stora Enso Ostroleka PM5 Proves Less Is More
Valmet’s Strategy Combines Process Technology, Automation and Services
Doubletree Paper Upgrades Its Water Treatment System
WEIG-Karton Achieves Results With Web Inspection at Former and Press Section
Wants vs Cans
Rotary Press Compacts Sludge to Cake
TAPPI Journal Summaries
Foreign Exchange and the Pulp and Paper Industry
Consolidation Watch
Knowledge Builder
Association News
Online Exclusives
Index of Advertisers

Paper360 - September/October 2015