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Sustainable, recyclable, impactful – why the future is bright for premium corrugated packaging

I might be biased, but I’ve always seen the corrugated package as a simply brilliant construction. And with sustainability and circular economy thinking at the top of the agenda for both brands and consumers today, this lightweight, sustainable and recyclable material is more relevant than ever.  


​In the past corrugated packaging meant boring, strong brown industrial boxes for transporting goods, but today as consumers we see and experience far more corrugated material as the distinction between primary and secondary packaging is fast disappearing. While it’s always been sustainable, with the help of premium white kraftliners, corrugated packaging has also become a powerful branding element in many ways.

The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted the already high demand for e-commerce packaging that is not only strong, lightweight and recyclable but which also offers excellent printability to help brands connect with consumers and make a powerful visual impact. Whether we’re talking about fast-moving consumer goods, food and beverages or even pharmaceuticals, corrugated packaging and premium white kraftliner together tick all the boxes: strength, printability, safety and hygiene, resource efficiency and recyclability.

At the forefront of the drive for circularity

Circular economy drivers are at the core of everything, and the corrugated industry has been very active in promoting the benefits of its products in this respect. The industry has long been focused on resource efficiency, reducing waste to a minimum and promoting recycling. As well as being a powerful visual tool for promoting a brand’s image, in this way corrugated packaging is also a compelling way to demonstrate a company’s commitment to being a responsible operator.
Modern packaging is about experience as much as it is about functionality – it’s a way to connect with consumers by enabling satisfying, memorable brand interactions, whether in store in the form of attractive shelf-ready packaging or at home as visually impactful e-commerce packaging. A great example of this is the wines and spirits industry, which has been forced to become even more creative with its packaging solutions because of the massive drop-off in tax-free sales owing to pandemic-related travel restrictions. The result has been some fantastic examples of beautifully inventive, visually impactful spirits packaging for e-commerce applications using corrugated materials.

Smart sustainability is the way forward

We have only really scratched the surface in terms of the potential of corrugated packaging with premium white kraftliners. As a blank template for packaging design it’s a fantastic substrate to work with, and we will certainly see even smarter designs and solutions in the future.

Going forward, the blurring of the line between primary and secondary packaging will continue. Excess, wasteful packaging will become a thing of the past as designers and brands work together to create resource-efficient, visually appealing solutions that do both jobs. The attributes of corrugated packaging I’ve already mentioned also make it an excellent choice to replace plastics in many applications – another important consideration for socially responsible brands as regulations tighten and pressure from consumers continues to increase.

As a supplier of premium-quality white kraftliners we strive every day to be the partner of choice for our customers. We work closely with the corrugating and printing industries on design and technical aspects to optimise the properties of the materials we manufacture in line with their needs. We’re also investing heavily in mills like Kemi and Husum to help us achieve our target of fossil-free production by 2030 and to add additional capacity that will enable us to respond to growing market demand and better serve the needs of our customers.


Veijo Korkalainen
VP Sales, White Kraftliners
Metsä Board

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