The Many Benefits of Paperboard Packaging

Paperboard packaging provides perks ranging from better microwave cooking to earth-friendliness.

By Kate Bertrand

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The Nut-Thins cartons are made of recycled, 18-point white clay-coated news back board, sheet-fed offset printed; a metallized film bag inside the carton holds the crackers. General Converting (, Bolingbrook, Ill., supplies the cartons.

Candinas Chocolatier (, Verona, Wis., has used recycled packaging for its premium, handmade chocolates since going into business 10 years ago. When Candinas redesigned its packaging this year, it once again chose recycled paperboard.

Having sampled other chocolatiers' products in Europe and Asia, and encountering many examples of elegant but non-recycled, non-recyclable packaging, company founder Markus Candinas decided early on that "there must a way to do beautiful packaging while still keeping an eye on the environment."

Candinas adds, "When we start developing new packaging, we always ask for recycled. We want to keep that environmental aspect in mind."

The new Candinas box, and a die-cut insert that immobilizes the chocolates, are made from 32-point recycled board. Glued to the box's base and lid is a top sheet; the sheet is printed in five colors using sheet-fed offset, and an aqueous coating is applied. The finished, hand-filled box slips into a decorative, die-cut sleeve. Planet Propaganda (, a branding and design firm based in Madison, Wis., designed the packaging.

As recycled board continues to improve, and as paperboard forming technologies, structural design and susceptor laminates become even more sophisticated, food processors will have no choice but to rethink the paperboard box, carton, tray and sleeve.


Marketing is all about thinking like the consumer. And for a growing number of food processors, that means adopting an environmentally conscious world view.

Consumer research conducted by the 100% Recycled Paperboard Alliance (100% RPA) (, New York, shows 61 percent of consumers are "more inclined" to purchase products from a company that uses recycled paperboard packaging.

To make sure those customers recognize recycled paperboard packaging when they see it, qualifying packagers can print the 100% RPA's trademarked recycling symbol on their cartons. The symbol is an updated version of the chasing arrows symbol.

In a 100% RPA-sponsored survey, 59 percent of respondents said they'd choose to buy a product with the 100% RPA symbol on it vs. a package without the symbol.


Getting the most bang for your distribution buck requires maximizing the amount of freight packed on trailers leaving your plant. To help meat packers gain efficiency in this area, the Corrugated Packaging Alliance (CPA) (, Indianapolis, has created voluntary packaging standards that make loading, handling, storing and shipping case-ready meat more efficient.

The standards, which CPA calls the Corrugated Modular Systems for Case-Ready Meat, provide two pallet options, with design flexibility for corrugated shipping containers. The pallet options use a footprint of either five or six shippers.

A national retailer that used the Modular Systems standard to ship case-ready beef and pork "increased utilization of their trucks from 79 percent to 98 percent," says Dwight Schmidt, CPA's executive director. A brochure describing the standards is available from CPA.

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