To say that packaging waste is a problem worldwide is something of an understatement. According to a piece that originally ran in The Guardian, the United Kingdom alone produces more than 170 million tons of packaging waste every year - much of it directly related to food packaging. The United States doesn't fare much better - according to the Environmental Protection Agency, about 258 million tons of waste were generated alone. To make matters worse, only about 34.6% of that waste was ever actually properly recycled.
Think about it like this: it can take an average of 450 years for the average plastic bottle to properly break down. Multiply that by 170 million tons of plastic bottles per year and you can begin to get an idea of just why this issue is so important.
It is for reasons like these that many product manufacturers have chosen to take matters into their own hands, looking for ways to not only use product packaging to save time and money on behalf of their enterprise but to help protect our fragile environment at the same time.
To that end, corrugated packaging design is a concept that brings with it a host of unique advantages that cannot be ignored.
What is Corrugated Packaging Design?
Corrugated packaging is a term used to describe products that are protected using corrugated board. First developed all the way back in 1856, corrugated board is commonly made from a combination of two distinct sheets of paper (also commonly referred to as liners) that are glued to a piece of corrugated inner material (often called fluting). Though the design itself may seem simple, these layers are assembled in a way that allows them to become much stronger together than they could be alone. The end result is a box that is much stronger than what you would get if you were working with most other options.
In addition to the ability to support much stronger weights, corrugated packages also have higher levels of both rigidity and resistance. Thanks to the design of the fluting, air is able to circulate in a way that acts both as an insulator and that allows the packaging to provide much better protection against extreme temperature variations when compared to other solutions.
Corrugated packaging design can also be heavily customized to meet the needs of the product, with different flute and liner sizes being used in varying combinations to offer different characteristics and performances as needed. These are just a few of the reasons why corrugated packaging materials are considered to be among those with the highest performance necessary to pack, protect and even promote products available on the market today.
The Benefits of Corrugated Packaging: Breaking It Down
But in reality, corrugated packaging design is about more than just the particular type of material that you're using. It's a way that allows you superior visibility over the design of your product, matching design factors for the aforementioned corrugated packages with the physical, processing and even end-use requirements for the product in question. In essence, it's a technique that allows you to both meet the requirements of a standard product package AND control the total costs associated with that product as it passes throughout your logistics chain at the exact same time. The importance of this is something that cannot be overstated enough.
As stated, one of the many reasons that corrugated packaging design is so popular has to do with the overall quality of its construction. Part of the reason why corrugated boxes are so strong has to do with the very high temperatures that are commonly applied during the manufacturing process. Heat elements with temperatures ranging from 180 degrees Celsius to 200 degrees Celsius are typically employed and the material itself reaches temperatures of at least 100 degrees Celsius at least three times.
Not only does this lead to a much stronger end product, but it is a process that is also proven to destroy the type of bacteria that would make it impossible to properly pack, store and ship foodstuffs in particular.
Along the same lines, corrugated packaging design for the food service industry is both viable enough and cost effective to the point where one package is only used for one deliver, no exceptions. Fruits, vegetables, bread, eggs, meat products and other foods make their journey in a single box and then that box is broken down and recycled. This allows customers to rest easy knowing that every package they receive has been used for the first time, no exceptions.
But perhaps the biggest benefit of corrugated packaging design has to do with the positive effects that it can have on our environment. Thanks to the fact that it is made with organic content, corrugated materials aren't just sustainable by nature - they're a genuinely natural product in more ways than one.
Paper-based packaging - a category that corrugated absolutely falls into - is 100% recyclable in the vast majority of all cases. In the European Union, for example, this type of paper-based packaging material has an incredible 81.4% recycling rate as of 2015 according to the European Recovered Paper Council. When you recycle a piece of corrugated packaging, it doesn't wind up in a landfill - it typically becomes new paper-based material again and again and again.
Speaking of recycling, another one of the major reasons why corrugated packaging has become so popular is the fact that it can be quickly and easily disposed of almost effortlessly. When corrugated materials are recycled, they're either pressed into an old paper bale or folded for storage until they can be properly hauled away. Boxes or trays made from corrugated materials can also be collected and carried away without any further sorting necessary.
Not only does this save a great deal of time on behalf of the consumer (because they don't have to worry about whether or not they're properly disposing of their product packaging), but it saves energy and money on behalf of distributors and manufacturers as well.
In the End
It's easy to see why corrugated packaging design has become so popular in recent years in the food service industry in particular. Not only is it an excellent manufacturing practice in terms of saving you time and money, but it also helps to generate the most important benefit of all: improving your ability to deliver a superior experience to your own customers, no exceptions.
If you'd like to find out more information about the major benefits that only corrugated packaging design brings to the table, or if you'd like to schedule a packaging prototype so that you can see first hand how corrugated packaging can help improve your own operations, don't delay - contact us today.