The average US corrugated box has registered significant environmental improvements over a four-year period, according to a life cycle analysis released today.
Global warming results were 32% lower than recorded in a similar study undertaken in 2006, mainly because more old corrugated containers (OCC) were diverted from landfill (recovery increasing from 72% to 85%). Also significant were lower fossil fuel usage, a switch from coal to less carbon-intensive fuels such as natural gas, and reduced mill effluent phosphorus and atmospheric emissions.
The cradle-to-cradle study, commissioned by the Corrugated Packaging Alliance, was completed by the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI), a third-party independent research body specialising in forestry issues. A Critical Review Panel comprising life cycle experts from the Athena Institute and EarthShift LCC confirmed that the study conforms to ISO 14040/14044 standards. The study considers seven environmental impact indicators and four inventory indicators.
All pertinent information is available here.