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Cardboard Packaging and Recycling

Cardboard packaging is used in many consumer and industrial sectors. From small food packages, such as cans of milk or cereals to packaging of manufactured goods for transport and handling, cardboard packaging is used for its good insulating and resistant properties. Cardboard is a biodegradable product that can be recycled or recovered.

Cardboard packaging

Uses of cardboard packaging The number of cardboard packaging used in France each year is estimated at several billion units and the cardboard recycling rate at 55%. There are several types of cardboard packaging: pure cardboard packaging printed or not, printed cardboard bricks made of a mixture of cardboard, plastic (PET) and depending on the container, sometimes an aluminum foil , and sheets of cardboard. Cardboard packaging waste After the Second World War, cardboard recycling began. Composed of cellulosic wood fibers, the cardboard can be recycled or recovered as fuel. However, it can not be recycled indefinitely, each recycling reduces the size of the fibers thus making the quality of recycled paper or cardboard a little worse each cycle. Each tonne of recycled paper saves about one and a half times its equivalent in mass of wood, several tens of cubic meters of water, manufacturing energy and carbon dioxide.

The cardboard paper cycle

The cycle begins with the recovery of waste and the collection of cardboard, paper and plastic packaging in a common storage after use by the consumer. The waste is collected and then taken to a recycling and recovery center where it is manually sorted. Mixed cardboard packaging containing plastic and aluminum, Kraft paper and some envelopes are separated from the rest of the packaging. The cardboard packaging waste is then baled by means of mechanical presses. The defibered paperboard then undergoes a foreign material removal treatment before forming a paper or cardboard pulp which will be coiled and then used to make other paper or cardboard articles or packages.

The carton manufacturing process

Defibration of recyclable paperboard

Recycling of paper and paperboard take several step. It’s begins by suspending the fibers from recovered paperboard and eliminating materials other than cellulosic fibers. This defibration phase takes place in a pulper, stirred tank by a rotor disintegrating paper and paperboard fibers. It’s also can takes in a rotating drum allowing centrifugation to remove contaminants such as plastics or heavy detritus. De- inking De- inking of cardboard is done by bubbling air into the fiber suspension . This process need adjusting the pH and temperature. The chemical treatment is a treatment with sodium hydroxide, sodium silicate and hydrogen peroxide for bleaching fibers. The inked supernatant phase is then removed by scraping and suctioning.


The pulp undergoes refining and purification before reaching the paper machine. The cardboard is formed by superimposing several jets of paper pulp by pressing or else by superposition and gluing with a synthetic resin or starch several sheets of paper.


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