Recycled fibres gain ground in cardboard market

The use of recycled fibre in cardboard packaging is expected to increase by about one-third to 77% in the near future if the results of a survey of buyer and specifier attitudes are anything to go by, according to the Corrugated Case Materials Association (CCMA).

Cardboard packaging is one of recycling's success stories. In the UK, 56% of the fibre used in corrugated cases is recycled grade, and the CCMA expects this to move towards the 77% usage levels found in continental Europe.

A Marketpower survey of attitudes among 80 end-users to recycled "test" liners - the exterior of the corrugated cardboard sandwich - has backed the CCMA's expectations. Three years ago, only 49% of the respondents expected to use more test liners. Today this figure has risen to 74% - at the expense of virgin fibre-based "kraft" liners.

The main reason for the trend, suggests Marketpower, is environmental concerns, including pressure from retailers to use more recycled packaging. Most buyers also believe that test liners are cheaper than kraft.

Over the last three years concern about the quality of recycled liners has been negated. One-third of respondents in 1990 said that quality consistency was a concern. Today this is no longer a key issue, with respondents reporting that the quality of recycled liners has "improved significantly".

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