Posted at 06:24h
in Sustainable Products
In the last week I’ve spoken with two people, one from a very large, green company and the other from a very small, green company. Both had very strong opinions about 100% PCW content corrugated boxes.
“I must have 100% PCW or as close to 100% as possible,”
one said. The other said, “I recently tried 100% PCW but it failed miserably”.
Both comments demonstrated a basic misunderstanding about corrugated, how it is made and how even 100% PCW it can be modified to satisfy almost any application.
I sincerely believe that the “100% PCW” requirement has in many cases become at best an ineffective guideline, and at worst a crutch for people who want to make a difficult decision, as simple as possible. Corrugated made of PCW material is an excellent sustainable packaging solution and a critical part of a long term environmental solution, but it has to be combined with some basic product knowledge to be cost effective as well as performance effective.
Corrugated Fun Facts. OK, not fun but good to know
For over a hundred years, almost since it was first used to line and support men’s’ tall hats, corrugated board has been made virtually the same way. A sheet of corrugated board is made up of three approximately equal (by weight) components, two face liner board sheets and the medium (the fluted layer) in between the inner and outer sheets.
If you make one of those three components 100% PCW, your board is approx. 33% PCW, two PCW components would result in 66% PCW, etc. Once you go below 100% PCW content on any of the components, the recycled content gets fairly “gray” but if someone is claiming 90% PCW, that is not only unlikely, it is virtually impossible. Since there is no accurate scientific way after production to verify the recycled content percentage or type (PCW or post production) of each component, a vendor is fairly free to claim almost any PCW percentage they care to.