As a producer of paper board folding cartons (unit cartons) for both ecommerce and retail store brands, we watched the pandemic spark a huge rise in home deliveries from online shopping. Although ecommerce sales have leveled off, they show no sign of dropping back to pre-pandemic levels.

This continued growth in the need for packaging is prompting companies to think about how to make product packaging more sustainable.

Sellers today are implementing a number of packaging strategies to become more environmentally friendly.

Sustainable Paperboard Packaging Tactics

Today there are many more sustainable paper boards available than in years past. Some are made almost entirely from post-consumer waste, such as natural kraft board stock. A simple move to a different paperboard can instantly reduce a company’s carbon footprint.

Yet there is more that can be done than with paperboard alone. Here are ways to make folding cartons and unit cartons more sustainable.

1 – Some recycled paperboard options

  1. Natural Kraft which provides an organic, earthy look and feel.
  2. Clay Coated Kraft Back (CCKB), natural Kraft with a smooth coated white surface on one side, ideal for rich, full-color printing.
  3. Clay Coated News Back (CCNB), recycled news print with a coated white surface on one side. This can also be a very economical choice.
  4. Thermal Coated Pulp (TMP), also an economical choice but, like CCNB, is not as strong as regular white coated paperboard (SBS) or natural Kraft options.

2 – Use paperboard certified by sustainable forestry organizations

Organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certify the paperboard has been produced using sustainable forestry practices. Most folding carton printers use FSC certified stock as well as other stock from the same sustainable sources. However, since printers must pay expensive licensing fees to print the FSC logo, this can add to your cost. Unless your customers are requesting the logo you may be better off not requiring it. In many cases, the FSC logo can be no more than an expensive marketing gimmick. Your unit carton supplier can suggest other logos with no licensing fee.

3 – Use Alternative Inks

Many of the inks used in packaging today are vegetable-based, rather than oil-based. We use them whenever possible to bolster sustainability.

4 – Minimize Print Run Lengths Where Possible

Another significant factor in greener packaging is that shorter run lengths are far more practical and economical than they were just a few years ago. Digital printing technology makes this possible. It also shortens the turnaround time.

Digital print can reduce short run costs because no plates or press makeready time is needed.

Another vital factor with digitally printed packaging is that brands can easily and economically do extensive versioning of products.

It also means they don’t need to warehouse expensive, wasteful inventories.

Clear Print offers both digital printing for short runs and traditional offset printing for long runs. We’ll fill you in on the latest benefits of both options.

5 – Work Closely With Packaging Suppliers

It’s important to collaborate with print and packaging suppliers from the very beginning design phase.

A good supplier will source sustainable substrates and offer packaging design suggestions. They also offer print and logistics methods that are friendly to the environment and may save money, too.

The bottom line is companies are reviewing their product packaging from design, to substrates and through to finishing and recycling. Small moves toward sustainable product packaging methods at each step along the way have a positive effect on environmental impact.

Contact Clear Print for innovative packaging ideas. Provide a product sample, and we’ll design the perfect folding carton plus provide a free custom-made sample.

Published On: January 26th, 2023 / Categories: Folding Cartons /