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Corrugated packaging: a shrinking carbon footprint

Europe – New environmental impact data from the European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers (FEFCO) covering the corrugated and paper industry indicate a further decrease in the carbon footprint of 4.8% in the period from 2009 to 2011. This adds to the 11.7% reduction achieved between 2006 and 2008.

During the three-year period, the average carbon footprint of corrugated was reduced from 784 kg to 746 kg per tonne, according to FEFCO’s ‘European Database for Corrugated Board Life Cycle Studies’. The main factor in this decline was the considerable drop in electricity usage, mainly the result of a reduction in electricity bought by kraftliner producers.

Pulp and paper mills with kraft cooking, as used by all kraftliner producers, have invested heavily over the last four or five years in the energy conservation side of their processes. Large boilers for bark and other biofuels, combined with steam turbines, are used for electricity production.

The corrugated industry has also intensified the use of recycled fibres for the production of corrugated packaging: the recycled input into new corrugated increased from 82% in 2009 to 85% in 2012, the FEFCO figures suggest.

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