Posted on December 16, 2008 by Dennis Salazar

“Virgin” Corrugated Board and Other Green Myths

globe guard 100% PCW content corrugated boxes

I recently had another “Madonna Experience”, with a potential customer who hesitated to make what he thought was the quantum leap from his current corrugated boxes, ALL the way to our Globe Guard 100% PCW recycled content corrugated boxes.

Those conversations always make me think of the pop singer’s infamous hit, “Like a Virgin” because the customer was convinced his current supplier was delivering boxes made of pure, new tree fiber. Not likely. Not even possible.

The Truth about Corrugated Board

The average corrugated sheet has a minimum of 35% recycled content and usually tops out at no more than 50%. The medium forming those all important flutes is almost always recycled content and often some amount of recycled content can be found in the outer or inner liner sheets. Here is the important part – though some post consumer waste is sometimes used, most of this recycled content is post production or pre-consumer waste. That essentially means trim, cut off, rejects, die cutting waste, returns, etc.

That is the primary reason most corrugated manufacturers refuse to commit to a guaranteed recycled content percentage. In house waste varies from day to day and so does the paper and board that are produced from it.

corrugated fluting

Corrugated Consistency Leads to Eco Consistency

It is ironic that people are often concerned about the inconsistencies of recycled corrugated board because when a manufacturer uses recycled content exclusively, they know exactly what they are working with from one production run to another. As you can imagine there are probably more inconsistencies and variables for a manufacturer to deal with when they use 25% recycle content today and 50% tomorrow because production had a bad day with quality control.

This consistency permits competitive pricing as well as competitive performance. The fact that our Globe Guard boxes are post consumer waste does not make them weaker. In fact, 100% PCW content may actually make them stronger because our paper waste is of remarkable good quality (especially compared to overseas waste) and amazingly consistent. We all tend to throw out and recycle the same good quality stuff!

Back to the “Quantum Leap” and Madonna

When you think about it, you realize the move to 100% recycled content boxes is not a huge step; it is just a really good one. It is very likely to reduce your material cost, improve your productivity and it is definitely good for the environment.

Regarding the “virginal” tag, I am sorry to say it was probably misapplied to Madonna and definitely to the corrugated.