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Sustainable packaging: helping the environment and your bottom line

Supplier: Signet
22 July, 2013

Environmentally friendly practises and products have captured the attention of businesses due to their recent prominence in the market and media as well as the importance placed on these practises by customers, employees and suppliers.

Employing environmentally sound practises and using green products can not only neutralise an organisation's effect on the environment, but are cost effective and will keep the company relevant, up-to-date and successful with customers.

Packaging is an industry that is not often associated with the term "environmentally friendly", however new technology has led to the development of "green" products. How environmentally friendly a product is can be determined by the exhaustion of raw materials, the presence of hazardous substances, carbon footprint and method of disposal. Protective packaging and void fill is one product category where a product exists that has been specially designed to meet "green" criteria through the Ranpak range of machinery and consumables.

Ranpak passes a fanfold pack or multi-ply roll of Kraft paper through a machine which converts it into a highly effective packaging material which offers minimal negative impact on our environment. Ranpak paper is made from trees so it is a renewable resource which actually absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. The forests from which the virgin wood is sourced absorb the same amount of CO2 through the photosynthesis process as is released through the manufacture and use of the paper. Thus the paper produced from these trees is actually climate neutral and does not contribute to the Greenhouse Gas Effect.

Being made of natural fibres, Ranpak paper does not contain any hazardous substances. Independent testing could not detect the presence of any hazardous material (such as cadmium, lead, mercury and hexavalent chromium) to an accuracy of 0.1mg per kg paper. This confirms that the paper is a very clean material with no hazard to human health or toxicological barrier to landfill disposal.

When sourcing wood for virgin paper, Ranpak only works with suppliers that are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. This ensures the wood is only sourced from forests which are managed in such a way that the biodiversity, productivity and ecological processes are maintained.

As a comparison, most traditional protective and void fill packaging solutions are petroleum based, such as foams and plastics. The fossil fuels used in their manufacture are a finite and exhaustible resource, having a very long term CO2 cycle through geological processes. Therefore, the CO2 produced during their manufacture and use is not reabsorbed and will contribute to the Greenhouse Gas Effect.

CO2 savings can also be found throughout the logistics chain. Ranpak paper is rapidly converted into void fill and packaging material on demand by the end user, rather than being shipped ready to use. This vastly improves transport costs and efficiencies, while reducing the carbon impact of the shipping process per cubic metre of the converted material. For example, to create the equivalent volume of void fill as an entire truck load of foam chips only requires a single pallet of paper packs.

As Ranpak paper is made from recycled materials, it also cuts down on waste and environmental impact. In Europe, the recycling rate of packaging paper is around 73 per cent, whereas for packaging plastics it is only 24 per cent. Paper is very easy to recycle and the processes for the separation and collection of used paper is well established; however if the paper ends up in landfill, it will break down very quickly into beneficial compost.

Ranpak paper is mainly used together with other paper-based packaging material such as cardboard cartons. This combination ensures easy disposal of the complete packaging set, which helps contribute to an even higher recycling rate of packaging material. On the other hand, plastics can be difficult or impossible to recycle, and the energy required contributes to both the Greenhouse Effect and the depletion of fossil fuel reserves. Plastics that do not get recycled go to landfill where they may not break down for decades.

Ranpak paper is a convenient, clean, cost effective and most importantly, environmentally friendly protective packaging and void fill solution, available now from Signet: Always In Stock, Always On Time and Always The Lowest Price.