The future of packaging- Plastic or carboard?

Packaging plastic or paper

The future of packaging- Plastic or carboard?

The topic of sustainability has become of up-most importance in the packaging industry. A lot of money is being invested in research into alternative packaging materials to plastic – such as cardboard – hoping to providing eco-friendly solutions.

The plastic vs. cardboard dilemma

When it comes to finding eco-friendly solutions, most consider carboard is preferable to plastic. So, is carboard really going to be the future of packaging?

Let’s have a look at some facts:


  • Plastic is made from fossil fuels and created high demand for crude oil
  • Although recycling has increased a lot in recent years, a lot of plastic is still not being recycled
  • Extraction and transport of raw materials cause plastic to emit an incredible amount of greenhouse gases
  • On the upside, plastic is light and easy to move, so transportation costs are lower than those of cardboard



  • Carboard comes from trees which can be replanted
  • Recycling of cardboard is common and easy
  • Logging is a real problem but we now have some bodies that support and certify controlled logging
  • Paper and carboard manufacturing require less water and energy consumption
  • Transportation costs are higher due to the weight and bulkiness of the load

Not only has carboard proven to be a cost-effective solution that offers a high level of protection, but all in all, it has been confirmed that the carbon footprint of carboard is considerably lower than that of plastic.

Regulations in Italy in the packaging sector

Countries in all parts of the world are working on regulations to reduce packaging and encourage the switch towards renewable and recyclable materials.

The Italian government has made environmental labelling mandatory, forcing packaging companies to inform the consumers about the material composition of packaging using specific alphanumeric codes.

Instructions for disposal must also be clearly indicated in order to facilitate collection, reuse and recycling of packaging.

For multiple component packaging the recommendation is to provide clear indications as to how to separate the materials.

The Government has also proposed a Plastic Tax that applies to products intended for the “containment, protection, handling or delivery of goods or foodstuffs”. Recycled plastics and compostable biodegradable plastics are set to be exempt. This law has been delayed a few times already and it seems that it won’t come into effect until 2023.


As recycling and sustainability will remain a key concern in the years to come, carboard packaging is expected to grow and Toppy is ready to take on the challenge.

It is important for companies in the packaging industry to work with the right partner that can help you meet your ambitions when looking to lower your impact on the environment.

For years now, Toppy has done everything possible to lower our carbon footprint and switch to more eco- friendly solutions.

For further information feel free to contact us.

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