Corrugated LCA (Cont’d from Page 1)
The corrugated industry’s LCA compares the envi- ronmental impact corrugated boxes and RPCs from raw materials extraction to end-of-life for apples, carrots, grapes, head lettuce, oranges, onions, toma- toes and strawberries.The LCA examined the effects of each system on global warming potential (green- house gas emissions), eutrophication, acidification, non-renewable energy, ozone depletion, respiratory effects, smog formation, freshwater consumption and solid waste. The assessment shows that the two container systems have different environmental impacts that create value-based trade-offs. To minimize the foot- print of delivering products to market, users need to identify the impact categories that are important to them and select the best system accordingly; perfor- mance in each environmental category depends on what’s being shipped, where it’s being shipped and other variables. Working Hard Corrugated manufacturers continually work to increase use of biofuels and decrease use of fossil fuels for energy, and to improve energy efficiency and product performance through better engineer- ing. Between 2006 and 2014, LCA shows that the industry reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent, in addition to improvements in other environmental impacts. Corrugated recovery has increased dramatically in the past 25 years so that corrugated is the most-recov- ered packaging material available today. Increased re- covery of old corrugated containers (OCC), from 72 percent in 2006 to 85 percent in 2014, is the primary reason greenhouse gas emissions declined 35 percent during the same time. Recycling corrugated makes an important difference and is one of the ways the cor- rugated industry can continue to improve its environ- mental footprint. Packaging represents only 3 percent to 15 percent of a product’s total environmental impact.The rest comes from the product itself, so protecting it from damage and premature disposal is very important. Corrugated suppliers specialize in designing packages optimized for performance and materials use. Source reduction has been practiced within the in- dustry for decades, engineering high performance packaging with the least possible amount of fiber material. In fact, the industry has worked with its customers to reduce the amount of corrugated per unit of U.S. industrial production by 12 percent from 2000 to 2017.
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