Study finds U.S. corrugated industry ships 6.4 billion square feet of boxes using recyclable wax alternative coatings in 2010, 30% more than 2009; corrugated recovery reaches 85% in 2010

Kendall Sinclair

Kendall Sinclair

Oct 24, 2011 – Corrugated Packaging Alliance

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Illinois , October 24, 2011 (press release) – A new study shows a dramatic, 30 percent increase in the use of recyclable alternatives to waxed corrugated in 2010:

• In 2010, the corrugated industry shipped 6.4 billion square feet of boxes using recyclable wax alternative coatings. That’s over 30% more than the 4.9 billion square feet shipped in 2009 and 385% more than when first measured in 2002, dramatically increasing the volume of containers that could be recycled.
• Progress has been made in replacing all types of wax treated boxes (cascaded, impregnated, curtain-coated) with recyclable treated boxes.
• 38 recyclable wax alternatives have passed certification testing for repulpability and recyclability and have been registered with the Fibre Box Association as of July, 2011. Each replaces a wax cascaded, impregnated or surface coating application and allows the container to be marked with the Corrugated Recycles symbol to indicate its ability to be combined with other OCC.
• The certified registrations were completed by seven coating suppliers commercially offering solutions in the marketplace and 10 converting companies offering proprietary solutions to their customers.

“The 2010 growth in recyclable wax alternatives is remarkable,” said Dwight Schmidt, president of the Fibre Box Association (FBA). “Retailers had been asking for them for
years, and needed a legitimate certification system in place to assure that products claiming recyclability were, in fact, acceptable in the OCC recycle stream. The advent of FBA’s testing protocol opened up opportunities for improved solutions to make their way into the marketplace. Retailers’ responses have been overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic.”

Corrugated recovery reached a remarkable 85 percent in 2010, continuing to hold its established lead in recycling among all packaging materials. Supermarkets are the leaders in this effort, recovering nearly all of their used corrugated to generate substantial revenue and improve store profitability.

Supermarkets are increasing revenues further and achieving their sustainability goals by requesting recyclable alternatives to waxed containers, so they can recycle even more of their used corrugated. This positive trend will reap more dividends for the entire supply chain as more supermarkets give it a try, and as the new recyclable wax alternatives gain market acceptance.

How to tell if a wax alternative is certified recyclable.

There are several symbols that indicate the corrugated container can be recycled.

Posters are available for retailers to display in their back rooms and at their balers, to remind associates to watch for the recyclable symbol and separate boxes that can be recycled from those that cannot. This will add additional revenue and assist the store in achieving waste reduction, contributing to the retailer’s sustainability goals.

For more information, visit For recycling posters, contact the Corrugated Packaging Alliance at 800.886.5255.

The Corrugated Packaging Alliance ( is a corrugated industry initiative jointly sponsored by the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) (, the Association of Independent Corrugated Converters (AICC) ( and the Fibre Box Association (FBA) (

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