What an exciting way to start the year, with a groundbreaking announcement and myth-buster for our industry: fibre-based packaging materials – paper, board, cartonboard and cartons – can be recycled more than 25 times with little to no loss of integrity!

We were delighted to reveal the findings of the independent research project, conducted by Graz University of Technology in Austria. Led by Dr Rene Eckhart, the study saw cartons repeatedly recycled to understand what effect, if any, there would be on the mechanical properties of the material, including its innate strength and crush resistance. It found that “no negative effect on the mechanical properties in question could be demonstrated” and in fact, the swelling capacity of the fibre also showed no negative trend.

This is fantastic news for the cartonboard industry and further demonstrates the outstanding properties offered by cartons and cartonboard. It resolutely draws a line under the common myth that fibre-based packaging can only be recycled four to seven times before it loses integrity. It also highlights – and no doubt proves what many of us within the industry already knew – that paper and cartonboard fibres are much more durable than previously considered!

From highlighting cartonboard’s vital contribution to the circular economy to the part it can play in improving the sustainability credentials of businesses and brands – it is a groundbreaking moment for the industry and we’re thankful for the efforts of Dr Eckhart and his team for delivering this important piece of independent research.

While great news and evidence of the circular business model we have long operated within, we recognise that both virgin and recovered fibres continue to be equally important for the circular economy. Some customers have specific product requirements allowing only virgin fibres. Whenever possible we will use recovered fibres as a source for our packaging material. This creates the best arguments for our circular business model. It also gives clear evidence that our fibre-based single-use packaging combined with a well established collection and recycling infrastructure in place will outperform many reuse packaging alternatives.

For our industry, we must continue to collect, sort and recycle all fibre materials in the market. We know that there are exciting times ahead for cartonboard based solutions with the continued demand for sustainable packaging materials. Now, with proven recyclability sitting alongside our recognised design and technical capabilities, there are enormous opportunities that lie ahead.

To see the interview with Dr Rene Eckhart visit: https://www.procarton.com/media-section/videos/      

To read the full report visit: https://www.procarton.com/recyclability-of-cartonboard-and-cartons-25-loops-study/