Category Archives: Environmental packaging

How to recycle gift packaging

Christmas is coming and it’s a busy time for everyone making sure we’re organised for the big day. One thing that can be overlooked is what to do with all the used gift wrapping and boxes once those presents have been opened. As a nation we’re very aware of the importance of recycling, however at Christmas with so much packaging and wrapping around it’s not always clear what we can recycle.

Kraft paper gift packaging

In this post we will be looking at how to recycle gift bags, gift boxes, tissue paper and gift wrap so you can ensure that you’re recycling the right items this Christmas.

We’ve got your gift wrap recycling questions all wrapped up

One of the most common leftovers we all have after Christmas is a mountain of gift wrap, so it’s no surprise that we’re often asked “is gift wrap recyclable?” This isn’t a straightforward question to answer as there are a few factors to consider, but in short – if you can scrunch the paper into a ball and it stays scrunched, then it should be ok to recycle it (remember to remove any plastic tape first!).

Not all gift wrap is recyclable though as it can often contain materials other than paper, such as plastic or glitter. We’ve covered this in more detail below, so read on for more information on what can and can’t be recycled.

Gift bags are a great way to give a present without having to wrap them first, and they also come in a huge range of colours, designs and finishes. A common way to recycle gift bags is to reuse them when giving a gift to a friend or relative, but once they wear out can you recycle gift bags in your normal paper recycling collection? If the bag is made from paper or thin cardboard then you should be able to remove any non-recyclable extras such as ribbon handles, plastic tags or decorations before you recycle. Remember though, this does depend on your local council recycling restrictions, as they vary across the UK. To make things easier, we have included useful links below on where to find this information online.

Over 12.5 million tonnes of paper and cardboard are used in the UK per year* and they’re widely recycled, but can gift boxes be recycled as easily? Luckily, recycling gift boxes is straightforward. Simply remove any non-recyclable items such as plastic packaging from inside the box, metal embellishments and glittered areas. Then flatten the box before disposing of it, to save on space in your recycling bin.

Are gift bags recyclable?

Gift bags have excellent durability meaning that they can be used many times before they start to look worn and become unusable. Eventually they will start to wear out, look tired and will need to be disposed of, but can gift bags be recycled? This is not a clear answer and does depend on what the bag is made from as gift bags can be made from paper or lightweight cardboard, sometimes with a plastic coating. There are also countless decorations from ribbons to plastic jewels, metal, feathers… the list is endless! Though if the bag is made from paper or thin cardboard then once you have removed the decorations, gift tags and handles it should be safe to recycle.

Add coloured tissue paper to gift bags

Because there are so many different materials a gift bag can be made from, it’s best to check with your local authority as some will accept gift bags and some may not. To find out what’s recyclable in your area click these links for England & Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Select one of the three options to find out what can be recycled in your local area then type in your post code for the results.

Are gift boxes recyclable?

When giving multiple gifts or those of an unusual shape that are difficult to wrap, it can be simpler to use a gift box. Decorated gift boxes can have different textures, coatings and finishes on the cardboard box material which can make it tricky to know if they can be recycled. With so much potential confusion it’s no surprise that we are often asked by our customers “can you recycle gift boxes?”

Jewellery gift boxes

Most of the time you can, just check what material the box is made from, if it’s cardboard then you can recycle! It’s important to remove any plastic coated gift tags, bows, ribbons or glitter covered areas as these can’t be recycled. Remove any items from inside the box, this could be plastic packaging or even a forgotten gift! You’ll also want to flatten the box to save on space in your recycling.

Alternatively, instead of throwing gift boxes away, don’t forget you can reuse them for gifting! Also they can make a great stylish storage solution around your home or office for paperwork, shoes, toys… anything that will fit inside!

Can gift wrap be recycled?

Most of us are used to seeing the mountains of used gift wrap on Christmas Day morning once those presents have been opened, and you may ask yourself can gift wrapping paper be recycled? It’s not a simple answer, even though we know it as ‘wrapping paper’ it often contains more materials than just paper. Gift wrap that contains foil or glitter is not recyclable, nor is plastic sticky tape or decorations such as bows and ribbons. If you bought recycled wrapping paper though, it should be safe to recycle again.

If you’re still asking can you recycle gift wrapping paper, there is an easy way to find out with the scrunch test. Squash the paper into a ball and if it stays in a ball shape then you can probably recycle it.

Scrunch test

Is gift wrapping paper recyclable by your local authority? Some councils will take away your wrapping paper with your roadside collection, while others may want you to take it to a recycling centre. To find out about your area click for England & Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Select one of the three options to find out what can be recycled in your local area.

Can you recycle tissue paper?

A brilliant addition to any gift is tissue paper to add elegance and style to a present, but is tissue paper recyclable? As with most recycling, it depends on the type of tissue paper so it’s best to check with the retailer first. Our range of tissue paper are recyclable, these include coloured tissue paper, white tissue paper and metallic tissue paper – this is because we use soluble ink to achieve the metallic effect rather than using synthetic coatings. If in doubt, check with the retailer or your local council before you recycle.

Gift box with colourful tissue paper

There are other ways to recycle used tissue paper as it can easily be crafted for a variety of uses. You can create countless decorations or even shred ripped tissue paper to use again in future.

So, is tissue paper compostable? Mostly, yes – tissue is made from recycled materials and is constructed of short fibres so it does break down in a composter, you can wet it first to start the process. So then ? As with most recycling there are some exceptions to the rule, if the tissue paper has a coated metallic finish then it’s probably not going to breakdown easily so you may want to try some of our ideas for reusing it above.

Before attempting to recycle any gift packaging, check first with your local authority if they will take it away or if you need to take it to the recycling centre. Remember to remove any glitter, decorations and plastic coated areas. Don’t forget that you can upcycle your old gift packaging into something new or reuse it for another gift.

You can find our full range of gift packaging on our website but if you need help and advice then do get in touch with our who will be happy to help you find the right gift packaging for your needs. Simply contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

* https://www.recyclingbins.co.uk/recycling-facts/

 

The problem with plastic

Every bit of plastic ever made still exists

Our reliance on plastic is at an all-time high, and a lot of the plastic we encounter on a daily basis is single-use. From drinks bottles, straws, stickers on fruit, our clothing and even tea bags, plastic is all around us.

What’s the problem?

Plastic is very durable and does not biodegrade – which is what makes it a great material for making so many things. But, because plastic doesn’t biodegrade it will remain in our environment forever.

Swimming in plastic: What's the harm?

Every year, up to 12.8 million metric tons of plastic ends up in our oceans.[i] Plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose and, even then, it will still be present in our environment in the form of microplastics. Microplastics are an ever-growing problem; because of their small size they are difficult to clean up, and marine wildlife accidentally consumes them. In turn, fish and seafood that ends up on our dinner tables have been found to contain microplastics.[ii] This poses a danger to our health as plastic absorbs contaminants from the surroundings which could pose a significant risk to our health.

What can we do?

On a more local scale, we can all make small changes to curb our plastic consumption. Buying a reusable cup for your morning coffee or saying no to a plastic straw in your drink might seem insignificant, but if everyone makes the effort it can make a difference.

What we can do to reduce plastic consumption

Globally, protective packaging materials make up almost half of all plastic waste. Our Eco Flo loose fill is completely biodegradable and is an easy swap which will help to curb your plastic consumption.

Find out exactly how long some of the most common plastics take to biodegrade, and the alternatives that are better for the environment in Swimming in Plastic: what’s the harm?

[i] https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/7/3/17514172/how-much-plastic-is-in-the-ocean-2018

[ii] http://www.fao.org/in-action/globefish/fishery-information/resource-detail/en/c/1046435/

Corrugated cardboard boxes 101: What you need to know

Cardboard is the one of the most popular packaging materials in use today, and we don’t expect that to change anytime soon.  It’s lightweight, strong and resilient, offering excellent protection for almost any item.  But did you know that it’s corrugated cardboard that gives boxes their strength?

Today we’re focusing on precisely that – the material that gives corrugated cardboard boxes their superior strength and resilience.  In this post we’ll be covering everything corrugate related, including how cardboard boxes are made, when corrugated cardboard was invented and how it works, as well as tips on recycling; how to shred, cut and dispose of corrugate.

Corrugated cardboard boxes - What you need to knowImage source: https://pixabay.com/en/cardboard-perspective-texture-467819

How is corrugated cardboard made?

First we’ll start with the basics – just what is corrugated cardboard?  Put simply, it’s the thick, strong arrangement of card that makes up the walls of a cardboard box.  It’s this combination of materials that gives cardboard their high strength and resistance to bumps, knocks and crushing.

The cardboard that makes it up is arranged in a concertina, zig-zag like like pattern which gives strength to both sides of the box. This is held in place and secured with a layer of paper on either side which is called the fluting.  Fixed in place firmly with strong adhesive, it can be made of different types of paper such as Kraft or Test, and it’s these outer layers that keeps the corrugate securely contained inside.  For more information about the inner liners and fluting, take a look at our beginner’s lesson in corrugate cardboard and cardboard in a recent post about cardboard box disposal.

How is corrugated cardboard madeImage source: https://pixabay.com/en/corrugated-cardboard-boxes-flutes-2225141/

So, exactly when was corrugated cardboard invented?  Its history goes back a long way – the earliest reports of it being patented were in England in 1856. Although it was not thought of as a packaging material at the time and was mainly used for other things such as hat lining!

The first recorded packaging and shipping patent for corrugate was in the United States and issued on December the 19th, 1871, where it was used for wrapping bottles and glass lantern chimneys.   In the years that followed it became a popular packaging material, with wooden crates and boxes replaced by corrugated paper shipping cartons from the early 1900s.

With the development of this resourceful material, cardboard boxes could be readily made for reliable shipping and storage, but how are cardboard boxes made?  The process begins by making the inner corrugated board – this is done by a large machine called a corrugator.  Board is fed into the corrugator, heated and pressed into the concertina form that we see above – this forms the central filling of the cardboard box wall.  Two outer liners, the fluting, are then fed through and securely glued to the corrugate using very strong adhesive.  Once the glue is set using steam, the flat complete board can be cut into large sheets of various sizes which are used to form the flat packed cardboard boxes that you receive from your packaging supplier. At Rajapack we stock over 600 different sizes and types of cardboard boxes , so you can imagine the cutting and loading process can become quite complicated!

What is corrugated cardboard used for?

So, just how does corrugated cardboard work?  This innovative construction features three separate materials and gets its super strength from the combination of all 3 working together.  In the centre, the concertina card is tightly but firmly packed within two layers of fluting and this gives strength across the width of the card to both sides of the material. It’s this concertina structure that makes the card super strong.

With many different types of cardboard box available, we often get asked which is the right one to use, and how thick is corrugated cardboard?  The great thing about how it’s made means that many different types and strengths can be produced.

Some use thinner, more lightweight materials with a single layer of corrugate for a light and strong box – these are called single wall boxes.  Others can use several layers of corrugate made from much thicker card.  For these boxes, the material can feel as strong as steel! Our ultimate strength triple wall boxes can support up to an impressive 500Kg in weight, all from a few layers of cardboard!

Corrugated cardboard 101 - Single double and triple wall boxes

Why is corrugated cardboard so strong?

We already know that corrugated board was patented for use as a shipping material in 1871, and this was for single side, single face corrugated board with one layer of paper on one layer of corrugate.  But who invented corrugated cardboard? The patent was registered in New York City by Albert Jones – you can actually see the first patent for corrugate as this is hosted online, along with the description and technical information registered – a fascinating piece of packaging history!

But just why is corrugated cardboard a good insulator and why is it so strong? The main strength of corrugate comes from it’s concertina like zig zag shape.  Being contained within fluting by strong adhesive, cardboard is strongest along the length of the material and it’s this structure that gives it strength to support both sides.

Is corrugated cardboard recyclable?

As Rajapack is number 1 in Europe for packaging, we must be mindful of how our products can be disposed of safely and in an environmentally responsible way. So, is corrugated cardboard biodegradable?

The good news is that yes, it is biodegradable. It will break down in the environment over time, though it can take a long time depending on the environment that it’s in.  If it’s wet and broken up into small pieces then it will degrade much faster, so if you have a compost bin at your home or business then cardboard can be a great addition to your compost.

Boxes can be quite large once broken down (a topic we’ve covered on the blog recently – ‘How to break down cardboard boxes’) particularly if they’re pallet or export boxes.  If you don’t have a great deal of space to store them on site in between recycling collections, then you may wish to shred your cardboard.

If you want to know how to shred corrugated cardboard, it’s simple and straightforward.  You could use an automatic cardboard shredder which perforates and converts corrugated cardboard into a strong, shock absorbent netting material which can be used as packaging.  Alternatively, you can shred it manually by soaking it in water which makes it very easy to tear and cut through with normal scissors if it’s single or double wall.  For triple wall, you might need something a little stronger like a box cutter detailed below, or some industrial scissors that offer more strength.

Even though it does break down, it’s always our preference to recycle cardboard when you can – all our boxes are made from 75% recycled fibres on average.  Local recycling collections for paper and card are usually frequent and the recycling loop for corrugate is so efficient that used boxes can be recycled, remade and reused in just two weeks!  Cardboard recycles very well, without loss of strength or rigidity so it’s an excellent material to recycle.

Crushed corrugated cardboard boxes ready to be recycledImage source: https://unsplash.com/photos/1PxGp8kkQyk

Corrugated cardboard is also great to use for packing – placing in boxes to separate items to hold them securely in place.  The fact that it’s lightweight, easy to handle and cut means it’s perfect for many different uses.  If you’re wondering how to cut corrugated cardboard then don’t worry, it’s easy.  A small cutting knife, called a box cutter will do the job with ease and glide through corrugate easily.

Open a corrugated cardboard box with box cutters

What is non-corrugated cardboard?

Finally we’re looking at non-corrugated cardboard as an alternative.  This is exactly the opposite of corrugate as you would expect! In this material, cardboard is simply layered on top of each other, in the similar way to how puff pastry is made.  This can make the cardboard material smoother, so it’s good for printing striking visuals or designs onto.

It’s mainly used for lightweight products, presentation boxes and you may have encountered it in things like iPhone boxes or for other gadgets.  Generally, it’s not recommended to be used as a serious packaging material, though can be cheaper than corrugate due to its simpler and more lightweight construction.

If you’d like more information about corrugated cardboard, our range of cardboard boxes and packaging supplies, or help on selecting the right cardboard packaging for your business, get in touch with our team of packaging experts who will be happy to help. Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

New Product Launch: Potato Based Packaging Protection

Following Earth Over Shoot Day earlier this month, we’re continuing with our environmental theme to help you go green. Take a look at the AirWave Void Fill Pillow System, one of the most revolutionary and eco-friendly packaging machines we’ve seen. This environmentally friendly packaging product uses left over potato peelings to make void fill packaging that can easily be composted at home!  To find out more about this innovative product and what it could offer your packaging operation, read on.

The AirWave - Eco-friendly packaging made from potato
Capturing air to protect packages
 

Air cushion packaging is very effective void fill, with a range of machines and cushion sizes available.  Rather than using physical void fill material such as packing peanuts, Kraft paper or tissue, air pillows are lightweight (being 98% air and 2% cushion), small and easy to store and can be made up in seconds with the right equipment.  Not only that, the abundance of air makes the contents of the pillow filling very easy to source!  The use of plastic which all pillows are made from, has been the only environmental concern to date…that is until now.

Turning potato waste into protective packaging with the AirWave

You may already be using air cushions in your packaging operation with a Mini Pak’r or a similar machine.  Small, compact and highly efficient, these machines are only slightly larger than a standard laptop so even a small packaging operation could easily support them.  They quickly produce air cushions for filling space in parcels and cartons, preventing items moving during shipping and keeping the contents safe and secure.

Operationally, this efficient AirWave works in a similar way to other air cushion machines; quick, quiet and compact, it can produce enough cushions for four packing stations with up to 8 – 10 metres of cushion per minute – a lot of volume from such a small machine!  It’s able to produce both air filled cushions or quilts which are inflated and sealed in one smooth process through the machine, running at ≤60dB it keeps things nice and quiet.

Giving potatoes a new lease of life

Air pillows have been historically made from plastic which can be difficult to recycle depending on the facilities and services you have locally.  The AirWave is an industry first which uses a biocompostable biopolymer material as its air cushions – with no plastic in sight! The AirWave void fill biocompostable pillow film is 100% plastic free, meaning it’s naturally sourced material will fully break down in a normal compost environment.

Giving potatoes a new lease of life into protective packaging

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/doyland/4985322023/

The fun part is that these biopolymers are made from potato! They’re completely formed from natural potato peelings and other waste by products of the potato processing industry – it’s this source of material which means they are able to completely break down in the environment.

Potato peelings can be given a new lease of life once their work is done providing protection to parcels and products all around the world.  After they have been disposed of and made into compost, they can then be used to help grow new potatoes in the garden!

The science behind potato air pillows

AirWave pillows are household-biodegradable, meaning they can be disposed of in your normal compost that you’ll find in a residential property. No special disposal method is needed at all and they won’t have any negative impact on the quality of compost, making them ideal for home recycling. Finally, the pillows fully comply with standards for compostability (EN 13432) which means they’ll degrade by 90% physically within 12 weeks, and biologically within 6 months.

Eco-friendly protective packaging made from potato wasteSustainable packaging - Pototo waste can be made into protective packaging

Images sources: https://morguefile.com/p/1058151
https://www.flickr.com/photos/facilitybikeclub/3321732096/

We’re very impressed with the environmental innovation that AirWave has brought to the protective packaging industry, it perfectly aligns with our strong stance on environmental protection and helps our customers go green. For August we’re offering a discount of 10% off all orders of bio pillow film rolls, so hurry to take advantage of this limited time offer.

If you’d like more information about void fill packaging, air cushion machines or are interested in being one of the first to try out our new AirWave pillows on your packaging line, simply get in touch with our team of packaging machine experts who are on hand to help.  Visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 142 26 46, or machines@rajapack.co.uk.

How to Recycle Packaging Materials

Protective packaging is usually made from strong and resilient materials, so it can absorb knocks and bumps, but this can make it more difficult to dispose of and recycle packaging materials correctly.  In this post we’re focusing on how you can recycle and dispose of protective packaging correctly in a safe and eco-friendly way.  We’ll be focusing on bubble wrap, foam and paper packaging.

Protecting your products is at the heart of everything we do here at Rajapack, it’s what makes protective packaging one of our most important and popular ranges.  These items have been designed and constructed to offer ultimate protection during shipping and transport whether it’s in the form of rigid blocks, soft cushioning, water resistance or protection from electricity.

How to recycle packaging materials

Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-pile-of-ripped-carton-1055712/

Is bubble wrap recyclable?

As one of the most widely used packaging materials available, a common question we get asked from our customers is “can bubble wrap be recycled?” The good news is that yes, bubble wrap can be recycled.  Some local councils can collect it in along with other plastics in their normal recycling collection, including items such as milk cartons, drinks bottles and carrier bags.

Is bubble wrap recycable

Do check with your local council though to see if they accept bubble wrap, as not all are able to.  If they don’t then there’s sure to be a recycling site local to you which does accept bubble wrap.  Simply store it and you can take it along to your local recycling site for proper disposal.  It’s easy to find out about local recycling collections through the ‘Recycling Collections’ section of the government website, simply enter your postcode.

Can Bubble Wrap Envelopes be recycled?

Bubble envelopes are made from a combination of polythene and paper, with cushioning air bubbles inside and a paper outer with soft surface that can easily be written on.  Because they’re made from two separate materials, bubble envelopes can’t be recycled whole.

Can bubble envelopes be recycled

The paper outer and plastic inner are usually bonded together and can’t be processed together for recycling.  If you can separate the paper outer from the polythene inner, then the paper can be recycled along with standard paper and card, while the bubble wrap inner can be recycled with standard bubble wrap at a recycling site.  These are offered by local councils and you can find your closest by visiting the ‘Recycling Collections’ link above.

Is packaging foam recyclable?

Foam packaging is a protective product which offers great stability and cushioning, while being lightweight, easy to handle, cut and use.  It excels at protecting a wide range of products and parcels whether wrapping, blocking, bracing or cushioning.

Is packaging foam recyclable

Unfortunately, it’s not simple nor straightforward to recycle foam packaging.  The lightweight, low density properties which make it so good to use do however make it difficult to recycle easily.  In some areas options can be very limited, as not all recycling centres can handle or process this material – but there are some centres that do, so check in your local area to find out what options are available to you.

Our Packaging Specialists always get asked, how to dispose of foam packaging? Find out where your closet recycling site is that will accept polystyrene and foam packaging.  You can easily do this through the Recycling Locator on the Recycle now website. Select ‘Recycle a specific item’ then select Plastic packaging and Polystyrene in the ‘Which type of material’ menu.  If there isn’t a centre close to you, then consider re-use of foam packaging instead of disposing.  Because of the strength and reliance of foam it can be used time and time again to securely pack items so doesn’t need to be disposed of after just one use. 

Are foam packing peanuts recyclable?

One of the most popular loose fill packaging solutions and one you’ve no doubt encountered before are packing peanuts.  These small but strong chips provide great protection while being incredibly lightweight.  But can foam packaging peanuts be recycled? Historically, they have been made from similar materials to standard foam packaging (polystyrene) making them difficult to recycle and dispose of in an eco-friendly way.

Are foam packing peanuts recyclable

Recently manufacturers of packing peanuts have developed more eco-friendly alternatives with the creation of biodegradable packing peanuts.  These break down naturally in the environment over time and can be made from renewable resources, lessening their impact on the environment and making them simple and straightforward to dispose of.

Can you recycle packing paper?

Paper packaging is one of our favourite protective materials.  It’s lightweight, easy to store and can be used for all manner of packaging applications, for packing, wrapping, protecting or presenting. It’s great for the environment too, with all paper packaging being fully recyclable.  From strong and resilient Kraft paper for packing and protecting items, crinkle cut shredded paper for soft cushioning and presentation, through to soft tissue paper for wrapping delicate and fragile items, there’s a suitable type of paper for almost any packaging need.

Can you recycle packing paper

Disposal of paper packing is simple and straightforward too. Many of the paper packaging that we sell is made from 100% recycled paper (the entire product is made from old paper products) and is fully recyclable, so it can be used time and time again and easily recycled along with your standard paper and cardboard collections.

If you’d like more information about the range of environmental protective packaging that we offer, any help or advice on recycling packaging materials or the best way to dispose of it, then simply get in touch with our team of packaging experts who are on hand to help.

Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

Earth Over Shoot Day, the Day Humanity Needs to Change

Earth Over Shoot Day and Rajapack

In 2017 the UK’s Earth Over Shoot Day fell on August 2nd, this year it will be 1st August. Our Ecological Footprint has moved forward by one day as we consume more of the Earth’s resources and services faster than it can be generated, the day that marks the over consumption is called Earth Over Shoot Day.

To help put the rate of consumption into a tangible perspective, last year we commissioned James Lake, a sculptor who works with the medium of cardboard, to depict humanity’s depletion of the Earth’s natural resources highlighting the seriousness of this environmental concern.

The Art of Recycling with Rajapack

Pictured: James Lake for The Art of Recycling

The Art of Recycling campaign highlights the change needed, the rate of consumption and the necessity to recycle and find more sustainable solutions to waste management. With James’ creativity and skill he is able to craft sculptures into something with a much greater value, all from a simple and unassuming item such as a low cost cardboard box and most importantly, from recyclable material.

In today’s society consumption and waste is higher than ever before. A perfect example is the growth of ecommerce and online shopping which has led to an increase of packaging used for parcels and the resulting waste created, and also the increase in petrol and diesel usage.  However, some changes can be made to help offset the damaging effects, such as electric or hybrid eco-friendly delivery vans or even cycle couriers, and online retailers choosing environmentally friendly packaging alternatives made from recycled materials.

Steps can be taken to #MoveTheDate, what will you do?

How to dispose of your used cardboard boxes

With over 600 different sizes of cardboard boxes to choose from, we’re confident that we can supply a box to fit any size or shape of product. But once something has been successfully shipped the cardboard then must be properly disposed of.

Everyday at Rajapack we get asked questions about how to recycle cardboard boxes or how to recycle cardboard boxes at home.  These questions are so popular that we’ve decided to focus this post on exactly that, including useful info on where to recycle cardboard boxes.

How to dispose of your used cardboard boxes

Image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/fyaTq-fIlro

 A beginner’s lesson in corrugate cardboard and cardboard

If you’re not familiar with cardboard boxes and what they’re made from then we’ve put together some brief info to get you up to speed.

Firstly, what does corrugate cardboard mean? This is the structure of the board and the combined inner layers of liner and fluting which gives boxes their rigidity and strength. All boxes we sell at Rajapack are made from corrugate cardboard.

The layers of liner in a box are usually made from test paper which is a lower grade of Kraft and Kraft paper which is made from virgin fibres and is a higher grade. These liners provide strength and support to the fluting which runs between them and can offer some resistance from water and the elements. The material used here means you can write or print on the box for easy identification.

Finally, what is fluting? Fluting is the word used to describe the wavey cardboard that is between the two liners.  It’s wavey shape gives strength to the liners that surround it and the direction and distance between the flutes can vary depending on the strength of the cardboard box. More waves means a box has more strength.

Can corrugated cardboard be recycled?

Corrugate board is one of the most popular types of cardboard we use, found in corrugated cardboard boxes and packaging where it offers excellent strength and resistance to knocks and bumps.  The inner layer of corrugate, sandwiched between two layers of Kraft paper, make it strong and resilient.

The big question we get asked is “Can you recycle corrugated cardboard?” Absolutely! The great thing about corrugated cardboard is that it can be completely recycled and used to make other cardboard boxes and cardboard products.  Recycling your used cardboard boxes saves the trees, energy and materials used in the manufacture of new boxes.

At Rajapack we have a range of eco-friendly packaging, including our boxes which are made from 75% recycled fibres on average, and the ‘recycling loop’ for corrugate is so efficient that used boxes can be recycled, remade and reused in just two weeks!

Image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/qph7tJfcDys

So, our Sales team is frequently asked, where to take cardboard boxes to recycle them? Many councils now offer recycling boxes for homes (usually coloured green or blue) where you can place items such as paper, aluminium and cardboard including corrugated cardboard for regular collection.  There are also local recycling sites across the country which accept corrugated cardboard for free.

You can check your recycling collections and find local recycling sites in the ‘Recycling Collections’ section of the government website, an easy to use page where you only need to enter your postcode. Other sites such as the Recycling Locator on recyclenow also make it easy to find information on where you can recycle locally.

Is cardboard biodegradable?

If a material is biodegradable then it naturally breaks down and decomposes in the environment in a way that doesn’t harm it. Food waste, for example is highly biodegradable usually breaking down naturally and safely in a short amount of time.

Cardboard is a biodegradable material – corrugated cardboard will break down and decompose naturally, though it can take a long time depending on the environment that it’s in.

It breaks down quicker if it’s wet and broken up into small pieces, and so is great for home composting if you have a compost bin.  If you are disposing of it at home, then make sure to cut it into small squares and wet it through thoroughly. There’s lots of useful information online about how to prepare it for composting.

How to break down cardboard boxes

Once you’ve finished with a cardboard box, it’s quick and easy to break it down so that it can be properly stored, ready for recycling or prepared for compost.

The first thing to do is to remove all plastic or vinyl packaging tape from the box.  This will have been used to seal it shut, and usually runs along the top and bottom flaps to keep it secure. This should easily pull off and can be disposed along with your normal rubbish.

If paper tape has been used to seal the box then you can leave this on as it can be recycled along with the cardboard box. If you’re composting then it will biodegrade along with the cardboard, so it’s safe to leave on. It’s what makes paper tape more eco-friendly than vinyl or plastic tape.

Once the non-recyclable tape has been removed, then you can easily flatten the box out. Ensure the top and bottom flaps are straight (not at right angles to the box) and push the opposite corners together.  The box should close up and you should then have a flat box which is much easier to store or transport.  If you are recycling it, be sure to keep it in a dry place ready for collection as it can be very difficult to recycle and handle when wet.

If you’d like more information about the range of cardboard boxes that we offer, any help or advice on purchasing packaging or the best way to dispose of it, then simply get in touch with our team of packaging experts who are on hand to help.

Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28, or sales@rajapack.co.uk.

Corrugate and Plastic, Eco-friendly Packaging

EXPERT PACKAGING GUIDE

Welcome to the second post in our series of Expert Packaging Guides where we take a close look at packaging products and materials, and offer expert guidance on how to select the right packaging to keep your process efficient.

Following our piece on Bubble Vs. Foam, we’re moving the focus to two eco-friendly packaging materials; corrugated cardboard and plastic, their properties, suitability for use and impact on the environment.

Eco-friendly packaging from Rajapack

Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/MGaFENpDCsw

Packaging and disposal: a growing concern

In February we held our annual Supplier Day where eco-friendly ecommerce packaging and the disposal of plastic waste was a popular topic of discussion for suppliers, in response to customer feedback.

With the growth of the ecommerce industry we’ve seen a massive rise in demand for suitable packaging which is lightweight, low cost, strong and simple to use. With this growth comes increased waste, which is why we provide eco-friendly choices, to minimise any potential damage to the environment and maximise recycling.

Our recent ‘Art of Recycling’ campaign focused on recycling in an effort to communicate key messages about this important topic in a unique and captivating way. Combined with the popularity of the Blue Planet II series earlier this year, consumer concern has grown making this a very important subject for customers.

Ecommerce Packaging Materials: Corrugate and Plastic

When it comes to Ecommerce Packaging, these two materials are most commonly used by customers. They both offer very different properties as a packaging material, and offer different recycling and disposal options. We’re going to cover both in detail later in the article.

Corrugated & Cardboard Packaging

Corrugated cardboard is no doubt a material you’re familiar with, a strong cardboard box that’s one of the most common packaging materials in use today due to its excellent protection, handling and storage properties. Recently it has experienced price rises as demand has grown from ecommerce businesses, and this is expected to continue into 2019. In the US, demand has continued to outstrip supply as its popularity has continued to grow.

Corrugate is made up of a fluting surrounded by an outer and an inner liner, with another layer of fluting and liners used in double walled corrugate for extra strength. This gives it shockproof protection and crushing resistance due to its rigid properties, making it a great choice for postal boxes, in particular book, CD and media boxes.

Stored as flat packed boxes, it won’t take up much space in your warehouse and can easily be folded out and assembled when needed making it very space efficient. Widely available, corrugate across our ecommerce range is lightweight too, saving on delivery costs when ordering and posting to customers.

Corrugate is 100% recyclable, and has the highest recycling rates of any packaging in the UK. It can easily be recycled at most homes and businesses along with all paper and card. The recycling loop is widely recognised as used boxes can be recycled, remade and reused in just two weeks.

Martyn Clarke, Reedbut eco-friendly quote

Corrugate: The Expert Opinion

We caught up with Reedbut Group, manufacturer and designer of corrugated and cardboard packaging for over 40 years, Martyn Clarke, the Group Sales Director provided his views on this popular material:

Q: What changes have you seen in your industry to corrugated?

A: Our industry has undergone significant changes over the last 5 years as it is challenged to produce more environmentally friendly products. The need for a box to be able to be used on numerous occasions is beneficial for customers from both a cost and carbon footprint standpoint and having them made from already recycled materials adds to the environmental credibility of corrugate.

Q: How have the materials and products improved in use and cost?

A: Eco friendly recycled materials are becoming increasingly common in today’s market. The ability to offer the customer a box that is ‘fit for purpose’ using a recycled performance grade offers the ability to challenge historically used board grades and flute profiles. Potential cost savings are therefore achievable through both unit price reduction, larger pallet quantities and material availability.

Q: What do you see in the future for corrugate?

A: Sustainability is the latest buzz word in the industry and accreditation to FSC or other such governance is essential. Corrugate has a bright future due to the commitment and willingness to develop recycled products. This means that corrugated cases can be made from 100% recycled materials and be 100% recyclable with the aid of a completely closed loop recycling system. Very few direct alternatives to corrugated can offer this facility. We are in the process of developing our core range of performance boards as well as bringing a competitive edge and design focus into the largest growing sector of Ecommerce Packaging.

Plastic Packaging

Plastic has had a lot of publicity recently due to the large amount of waste found in some of the world’s beauty spots and its effect on the environment. The critics argue that this is mainly due to poor disposal rather than the properties of the material itself.

As a packaging material plastic is lighter and thinner than paper and card alternatives, resulting in reduced fuel consumption when transporting, reducing greenhouse gas emissions versus bulkier paper and card. Many plastics are now recyclable too, meaning they can be remade into future packaging efficiently, maintaining their excellent properties time and time again.
Plastic offers many benefits as a material; it’s weatherproof, tearproof and lightweight, with some offering puncture resistance as well as protection from extreme hot and cold temperatures. This level of protection can mean less spoiled parcels, reducing waste and returns.

Plastic is lighter and stronger than paper and card packaging, and plastics and polyurethane foams usually provide better protection for the least resource used, making them a sustainable option.

It’s a material that is seeing continual development in manufacturing and innovation too with increased uses of recycled plastic, more reuse, and a reduction in energy consumption during manufacturing as technology improves.

Ed Roberts, Sealed Air eco-friendly quote

Plastic: The Expert Opinion

We spoke to Sealed Air, a world leader in the manufacture and design of plastic packaging, Ed Roberts, the Sustainability Director gave his thoughts on plastic and its future:

“Given all the recent publicity, it is not surprising that people are looking at alternatives to plastic packaging, with paper and pulp as the most common considered. Sealed Air has a broad range of paper solutions so we understand the environmental benefits and limitations of both paper and plastic. Paper is usually considered to be environmentally friendly but you may be surprised to learn that it has its concerns.

According to the International Energy Agency, paper and pulp production in 2014 consumed 5.6% of the world’s industrial energy requirements. The IEA have also said that the paper and pulp industry must cut direct non-biomass CO2 emissions by 17% by 2025 from 2014 levels to meet the requirement of the Paris COP-21 agreement to limit global warming.

There will be many situations in which paper for void fill and/or cushioning will be perfectly adequate and sustainable. But even the most basic of mobile phones produces about 60 kilograms of greenhouse gas during its manufacture, non-paper solutions such as plastics and polyurethane foams can usually provide better protection with less resources used, being the most sustainable option.

Eliminating plastic would likely increase your material, warehousing and logistics costs, could increase damage rates and potentially be more detrimental to the environment.
The majority of Sealed Air products are already recyclable. We are continually innovating and collaborating with other organisations to develop the infrastructure and technologies required to make all plastics recyclable. As well, most Sealed Air products can be reused and many customers keep the packaging for future use. It is necessary to dispose of the material, polyethylene materials (such as Bubble Wrap™, Fill-Air® Air Bags and Cell-Aire®) can be put into the shopping bag recycling bins found at many supermarkets and recycling centres.

In Summary – Which Material is Right for You?

Making the right choice between which material is best for your needs is something that should be considered across a range of factors; what type of item you’re packaging, what protection it will need, where it will be stored, how it will be shipped, and what storage space you have are just a few things to think about.

Corrugated offers medium and heavyweight protection thanks to the properties of the material, which excels as protecting from shocks, knocks and crushing. Heavier than plastic, it can be slightly more expensive to ship but is straightforward to recycle, and most of what you can buy is 100% recycled already, so it won’t go to landfill and has an excellent recycling loop here in the UK.

Plastic offers excellent all-round protection in the form of puncture, tear and shock resistance. It’s more weatherproof than corrugated solutions too, meaning there’s little concern about moisture, damp, or hot and cold temperatures. Recycling for plastics isn’t generally as efficient as paper and card, though it’s lightweight properties mean less impact on the environment when transporting and delivering.

Some products combine the strengths of both materials and are still fully recyclable, such as padded paper mailing bags (a favourite of ours) so you can get the benefits of both while keeping things eco-friendly.

Joe Wille, Rajapack eco-friendly quote

Finally, we spoke to Joe Wille, Field Sales Manager here at Rajapack UK, to get his thoughts on making the choice between corrugate and plastic for ecommerce packaging.
“We’ve been seeing a fundamental shift away from plastic with customers looking for other packaging solutions. Being able to provide our customers with alternatives to traditional packaging methods, such as packaging machines that supply biodegradable packaging alternatives is an ongoing aim for us here at Rajapack. Going green shouldn’t cost your business more, and we’re here to make customers aware of the choices available, providing them the knowledge to make the right choice for their business.

Some customers are not necessarily looking for eco-friendly products but are drawn to what looks eco-friendly. Part of what we do is to educate buyers on what is eco-friendly and why it is, ensuring that the packaging they use will have a real, positive impact on the environment, moving customers to biodegradable options where possible.

The quality and integrity of our packaging is paramount across all our products. All suppliers are quality assessed before we work with them, and then on an on-going basis to ensure they meet our high standards. We also carry out a bi-annual on-site audit with each supplier at their premises.”

If you’d like further information on ecommerce packaging, or help choosing the right eco-friendly packaging for your business, simply get in touch with our team of packaging experts who are on hand to help. Simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28.

Help your business go green in 2018 with our eco-friendly packaging

For our first post of 2018 we’re focusing on a topic that’s close to our heart – environmental responsibility.

Environmental packaging alternatives - go green with Rajapack

We’re all committed to sustainable development to benefit the environment, with an environmental policy in place across all of our 15 subsidiaries across Europe.

We regularly launch campaigns to support and help charities around the world and at home.  Our current campaign is the Women and the Environment programme which has raised more than £625,000 for charity projects around the world and has been extended until the end of August 2018.

More recently we’ve undertaken a survey of over 2,000 people to find out more about recycling in the UK.  We also commissioned a cardboard sculpture artist to produce a piece for us to raise awareness of recycling as part of our Art of Recycling campaign.

It’s important for Rajapack to help our customers go green too.  Moving to more environmentally-friendly packaging offers many benefits for a business as well as being kinder to the planet.  It’s great for improving your brand reputation, differentiating your offering in a crowded marketplace and enhancing the experience for your customers.

Over the past few years we’ve been steadily growing our range of eco-friendly packaging and below we’ve picked out some of our favourites to help your business go green in 2018.

Protection: Green Recycled Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap is one of the most popular types of protective packaging as it’s so versatile.  It can be used for a whole range of things including wrapping, layering, separating and cushioning goods to give them great protection during storage or transit.

For a more eco-friendly alternative to standard bubble wrap, we offer recycled, recyclable green bubble wrap. Coloured with a slight tint of green and supplied in 100 metre rolls, it’s made from strong green polyethene, 50 microns in thickness.  It’s completely recyclable and made from at least 15% recycled polythene for less impact on the environment.

Recycled green small bubble wrap - go green with Rajapack

Protection: Biodegradable Loose Fill

If you use a lot of loose fill in your packaging process, then we recommend trying this biodegradable loose fill from Eco-Flo. It’s more environmentally friendly as it breaks down in the environment naturally and is completely compostable.

High quality light, clean chips will settle immediately and fit around goods in a box, preventing them from dropping to the bottom, providing solid protection.  They are 5 times more antistatic than using polystyrene chips, so can be used for any product from delicate ceramics and china to sensitive electronic equipment or heavy mechanical items.

Packaging peanuts otherwise known as void fill or loose fill

Labels: Green Documents Enclosed Envelope Labels

Documents enclosed labels are one of the most common packaging labels, used on all large shipments to identify package details without having to open them.  We offer a green alternative, so you can make small, simple changes to your processes to be more eco-friendly without it costing the earth.

Our green documents enclosed envelope labels are made from 60% recycled materials and are still as strong, sticky and durable as standard non-recycled envelope labels.  Available in three sizes; A5, A6 or DL, they’re made from 60 micron polythene with a paper backing and will stick fast to any package.

Rajalist green document enclosed envelope labels - go green with Rajapack

Strapping: Extruded Polyester Strapping on Cardboard Cores

This eco-friendly strapping, made from 80% recycled material is twice as strong as polypropylene strapping and a great alternative to using steel. The extruded polyester is 100% recyclable and features a cardboard core that can be recycled with your standard paper and board.

Extruded polyester strapping offers lots of other benefits too; it won’t ever rust, scratch or stain your shipments, and its elastic properties mean that it can fit awkward shapes without splitting or losing strength. If you regularly use strapping in your shipments, we recommend taking a look.

Extruded polyester strapping - contains 80% recycled material

Office Supplies: Recycled Cardboard Archive Box Folders

Our eco-friendly range isn’t limited to packaging and protection, we also have office and facilities products available too.  These cardboard archive box folders are great for keeping your office and paperwork organised.

They’re made from 100% recycled cardboard, a single flat sheet of corrugated board which gives a solid finish.  Available in four different spine widths, from 80mm to 150mm, they feature pre-ruled lines across all four side for easy identification.  They’re completely recyclable too.

Recycled cardboard archive box folders

Plastic Bags: Green Grip-seal Polybags

If you’re using grip-seal bags, then we have a great eco-friendly alternative to standard bags.  Our green grip-seal polybags are made with at least 50% recycled material, lessening their impact on the environment during their production and use. They feature a bold green strip along the closure with

They’re great for packaging and protecting a massive range of items, from jewellery and cosmetics, to electronics, magazines and more.  With brilliant clarity through the bag, they can be used for presenting products too.

 

Paper Packaging: Natural Crinkle Cut Shredded Paper

Made from 100% recycled antistatic Kraft, this crinkle cut shredded paper protects during shipping and looks pretty when presenting gifts and products. The 80gsm natural fibre holds its shape and resists crushing, providing strong protectionyour items.

The spiral folded fibres are perfect for presentation in items such as seasonal hampers, fruit baskets, gift hampers and general gift decoration.  They’re 100% recyclable too.

Crinkle cut shredded paper - fibres that present and protect products

Mailing Bags: Padded Jiffy Green Bags

Made from 100% recycled paper, padded jiffy green mailing bags provide outstanding protection with super strength.  If you’re already using mailing bags to send out your shipments, then these are a great eco-friendly alternative.  Available in ten different sizes, they can be used to ship a wide range of items including heavy duty products such as mechanical parts.

Featuring a 100% recycled paper fibre lining, they are 100% recyclable and offer exceptional protection with their cushioning paper layer.

Padded, self-seal gold Jiffy Green bags - eco-friendly jiffy bags

Palletising: Moulded Wood Pallets

We offer eco-friendly solutions if you ship your goods on pallets, to help you be greener.  These moulded wood pallets are lightweight, incredibly strong, and manufactured from recycled waste timber.  They’re 100% recyclable too, so you can ensure they get recycled into future products after use.

Lightweight and economical, they can easily be stacked when not in use, saving space in your warehouse, and are fully certified for export according to FAO-IPPC-ISPM 15, so there’s no need to fumigate or heat treat them.  They’re available in other sizes too, from mini pallets through to container size to fit standard ISO containers.

100% recyclable standard moulded wood pallets

Export Boxes: Cardboard Loading Cases

If you’re shipping pallets of goods, then we can recommend a green alternative for export boxes.  These cardboard loading cases with optional lids are strong, robust and durable. They’re made from double wall corrugated board with a Kraft paper finish, which makes them damp and moisture resistant, perfect for use in humid conditions.

They’re made of 75% recycled fibres and are 100% recyclable.  Once recycled after use, they can be remade and reused in just two weeks.

If you’d like to see how our team of packaging experts can help your business be a little greener for 2018, simply visit www.rajapack.co.uk or contact our team on 0800 542 44 28.

Cardboard loading cases with optional lids

The Art of Recycling: Does the UK care as much about the environment as we think we do?

As individuals, could we be doing more to help the environment? We looked a little closer at some of the UK’s recycling habits and learnt that on average, every seven weeks people in the UK throw away their own body weight in rubbish.[i]

The benefits of recycling are clear. Manufacturing one aluminium drinks can uses the same amount of energy as recycling twenty.[ii] What’s more, there would be 14 million fewer full dustbins every year if we recycled all the aluminium drinks cans sold in the UK.[iii] All our Rajapack cardboard boxes are 100% recyclable and we’re always working towards growing our range of environmentally-friendly packaging solutions.

94% of British adults say they care about the environment

What are the effects of not recycling as much as we could? Earth Overshoot Day gives us an idea of how much we are harming the environment.

Earth Overshoot Day

We use more from nature than the planet can renew. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date each year when we have consumed more than can be regenerated.  Thirty years ago, in 1987, this day fell on the 19th December. Ten years ago, 2007, it was 26th October.[iv] In 2017 Earth Overshoot Day falls on the 2nd August.

This is a clear indication we need to start doing more to help the environment. So, we decided to find out a bit more about the public’s attitudes to recycling. Local councils provide plastic crates, bins and bags – usually free of charge – specifically to make recycling easier for us. But is it working?

Are we a throwaway society?

In the country, 96% know aluminium cans are recyclable, only 76% that use them recycle them

Since 2010, the amount the UK recycles has been increasing. However, in 2015 this rate dropped.[v] To find out a little more about this decline, we commissioned a YouGov survey to find out how the British public really feels about recycling.

Our results show that almost everyone in Great Britain says they care about the environment (94%), but almost half of them (47%) feel they could recycle more than they currently do. This is despite almost three-quarters of the British public (74%) thinking their local council makes it easy for them to recycle. Do people simply not have the time to sort out their recycling?

We found out that although almost everyone in the country knows that aluminium cans can be recycled (96%), only 76% of those who use them say they recycle them every time. In Wales, 100% of people who responded to our survey knew that aluminium can be recycled, but only 80% said they recycle their empty cans every time.

100% of the Welsh know aluminium cans are recyclable, only 80% recycle them

Does a lack of knowledge around what can be recycled contribute to people not recycling more? Polystyrene isn’t a commonly recycled material, but some councils do accept it at household recycling centres.[vi] Yet over a third of Brits (37%) think polystyrene can be recycled, while nearly half of them believe it can never be recycled. Only 13% of those in Britain admitted they didn’t know.

Recycling cardboard

One of the most common packaging materials in the UK is corrugated cardboard[vii], which means most of us will probably have it in our homes in some form. The good news from our survey is Brits are more likely to recycle cardboard than any other material we asked about, with 79% of people who use it saying they always recycle it.

Our findings back up the statement that cardboard has the best recycling rate of any packaging material in the UK. This high rate of recycling means that cardboard boxes made in the UK contain up to 76% recycled material, on average. Some boxes are constructed from 100% recycled material. [viii]

The most recycled materials is cardboard, 79% say they always recycle it

How can we improve?

Although it’s worrying that recycling rates in the UK have dropped from previous years, it isn’t too late to do something about it. With people in the UK willing to admit they aren’t always sure what can be recycled, there is scope to educate people about what can and can’t be put into their recycling bins.

Many businesses are beginning use more eco-friendly packaging solutions. At Rajapack, we offer eco-friendly and recycled packaging across our range and our Packaging Specialists are always on hand to provide information on how to make more environmentally-responsible packaging choices.

If you want to find out more about what you can recycle in your local area, this tool from Recycle Now will tell you everything you need to know.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2026 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17th-18th July 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

 [i]http://www.amgen-cymru.com/recycling_facts.php

[ii]http://www.amgen-cymru.com/recycling_facts.php

[iii]http://www.amgen-cymru.com/recycling_facts.php

[iv] http://www.overshootday.org/newsroom/past-earth-overshoot-days/

[v]https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/593040/UK_statsonwaste_statsnotice_Dec2016_FINALv2_2.pdf

[vi] https://www.recyclenow.com/what-to-do-with/polystyrene-1

[vii] http://www.paper.org.uk/information/factsheets/Corrugated%20key%20facts%20May16.pdf

[viii] http://www.paper.org.uk/information/factsheets/Corrugated%20key%20facts%20May16.pdf