PPC Folding Carton Boot Camp Shows Converters How to Make the Most of Paperboard

A group of newcomers to the paperboard packaging industry learned about the entire process of carton converting during the Paperboard Packaging Council’s (PPC) Folding Carton Boot Camp on May 8-9. Among other insights, participants learned how waste paperboard is a valuable asset that needs to be managed and recycled. This process provides value to converters and the marketplace—and ultimately adds to paperboard’s exciting sustainability story.

Quinn Garber, Southeast VP of Sales and Marketing at River Valley Paper Co., explained that waste paperboard from carton converters’ plants is called “pre-consumer paper.” Although folding carton manufacturers optimize jobs to reduce paperboard waste, there is usually some excess board that is stripped away during the cutting process. Waste may also come from misprinted sheets or other errors.

The crucial aspect to remember, Garber explained, is that waste paperboard has value—and the industry should take advantage of that. Value depends on a number of variables. Board stock may be the most important: white SBS board has the highest market value while brown SUS is on the lower side. The type and amount of printing also affect value, with less ink coverage meaning more market value. Additionally, converters should consider the dynamics of supply and demand. For example, with decreasing volumes of recycled magazines and books, the demand for recycled fiber from paperboard has increased over the past years.

Garber concluded the session by highlighting great news for the industry. Paper and paperboard have historically been, and will continue to be, highly visible in municipal recycling collection.

“Paper is easily the most recyclable substrate,” Garber said. “And that sustainable quality is important to consumers and brand owners alike.”

Paperboard recovery was just one of many topics presented at Folding Carton Boot Camp. The intensive two-day workshop covered the entire folding carton production process, from certified forest all the way to the store shelf. Industry experts explained the papermaking process and also described the properties and application of inks and coatings. Prepress processes like CAD, layout, and graphics were explained in simple terms, as were a variety of others including tooling, embossing, foil stamping, stripping, finishing, gluing, windowing, and rigid box manufacturing.

The next Folding Carton Boot Camp will take place on Nov. 13-14, 2018 and is open to PPC members and non-members. For more information, visit paperbox.org/bootcamp.

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