Paperboard packaging found to be greener than plastic, study

    The study shows paperboard is more environment-friendly than that of dangerous plastic only packaging, leads to reduce a packaging’s climate impact by 99%.
    For people who influence the choice of packaging material, this single choice can make the biggest climate impact during a product manager or designer’s entire professional career, according to study findings by IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute for Iggesund Paperboard.


    The starting point was to study some of the commonest packaging types and compare the differences in climate impact depending on the choice of packaging material.
    “Plastic is a fantastic material for many applications and we use it ourselves when producing paperboard for food packaging that needs a thin plastic barrier to protect its contents.”
    By switching from plastic to paperboard, it is possible to reduce the climate impact of the packaging by 99%.
    A paperboard carton containing 500 g of pasta was compared with the corresponding amount of pasta packed in a thin plastic bag is the example that was most favorable for plastic. The conclusion was that the plastic bag has a 3.25 times larger climate impact than the paperboard packet.


    “There are masses of packaging that cannot be made in anything other than plastic today,” says Granas. “But there are also packaging that is made of plastic where it is easy to switch material without losing function at all – and it is logical to start there if we want to reduce packaging’s climate impact.”
    “However, based on the recognized environmental databases, this definitely indicates the great importance of the choice of material.” 
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