Editor's PicksSpecial Feature

With A Busy Q4 Ahead, It’s Time for Box to Nature

One of the first homework assignments I gave myself when the Paper and Packaging Board decided to allocate all its resources to communicating the industry’s sustainability proposition was to dig into our country’s recycling system.

As many of you will know, that’s not a simple task! One of the great things about the U.S. is its diversity—a diversity that brings a wealth of local and regional differences and variations. Recycling is no different. We have curbside collection and facilities-based recycling; single-stream and multi-stream; programs paid for directly by consumers and programs subsidized by tax dollars. Programs for neighborhoods, municipality, counties, states and on and on.

But underneath all of that diversity and complexity is an overriding piece of good news: more than 90% of Americans have access to recycling programs.

And here’s another bit of good news: paper is one of the most widely recycled materials on the planet, and in the U.S. recovery rates far exceed other more difficult to recycle materials like plastics made from fossil fuels.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t do even better.

That’s why we’re so excited about our Box to Nature launch. Box to Nature is an industry-wide residential recycling initiative we developed in collaboration with paper and corrugated manufacturing companies and industry partners—principally e-commerce brands—to print graphics on their boxes that make it easier for consumers to recycle.

What makes Box to Nature unique is that we designed it to meet consumers where they are, by engaging with what we know from our research to be consumer’s actual paper-based recycling behavior—much of which is centered on e-commerce shipping boxes.

That same research shows that two out of three consumers confess to not always recycling. We wanted to do everything we could to make sure that those failures are not coming from confusion or difficulty in handling our packaging. So the Box to Nature graphic is built around a simple mantra: “Empty. Flatten. Recycle.” And it features a QR code that directs consumers to where they will find memorable, easily digestible messages to upgrade their recycling habits.

When the message was tested before launching the program, 75% of consumers said they would be more likely to recycle their e-commerce box after seeing the graphic. Our hope and belief are that this will translate into an estimated 40% residential recycling rate for boxes, which will in turn help us recapture more fiber to make new paper-based products.

We’re continuing to roll out Box to Nature with a stop at PACK EXPO in Chicago at the end of this month, and we’re doing it in a pretty cool way—with an immersive virtual reality experience combined with the tactile qualities of paper and corrugated. I won’t say too much more about that, to encourage all of you who can attend to come by and check it out for yourselves!

Source : Paper & Packaging Board.

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