Tissue boxes are a good example of small cardboard boxes. Many manufacturers choose to make the actual tissues from virgin raw materials in order to preserve the quality of their trademarks and paper, tissues and boxes. Recycled fibers are used in the paperboard part of these small vanity boxes – their outer shell. This raises a number of questions from green packaging organizations and environmentalists. Reason is that not all sources of timber, the major source of paper raw materials together with some crops such as cotton, jute etc., come from forests whose management is compliant with sustainable forestry management regulations. Most of the timber coming from Western Europe and North America adheres to these procedures and, by and large, manufacturers can be sure that their paper products are aligned with newer green packaging initiatives.
This might not be the same for places such as the BRIC countries for example. Many of the forestry management companies there are run by people with short lived intentions whose only objective is to amass wealth at whatever cost to the environment and get out. It is quite natural that they will use any and all tactics to gain access to markets such as the western world. One such approach is to undermine the supply of virgin raw materials with price. When a large manufacturer of flat or small cardboard boxes is faced with this ethical dilemma – the economics of the situation might push the scales into favor of the lesser price.
This could have a number of interesting implications. Cheap raw material prices are detrimental to many municipalities engaged in proper recycling of paper and cardboard – often this is a laborious process with manual work at high cost to prevent paper from getting mixed with the comingled waste. What is more, once the raw materials from such an example as above become less expensive, local paper mills might stop purchasing the recycled supply and introduce a new set of problem making it really challenging for material recycling facilities to stay afloat and justify taxpayers’ expense.
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