March 2005

Corrugated industry establishes recyclability standards for wax replacement materials

Washington, DC and Rolling Meadows, IL— The American Forest & Paper Association and the Fibre Box Association have announced the release of a draft, voluntary standard to certify that corrugated board or boxes treated to improve performance in the presence of water, or water vapor, are repulpable and recyclable.

The draft document, released for public comment, is the product of a joint committee that included box manufacturers, paper mill operators and recycled fiber users. The committee considered the present state of supply chain issues, including retailer calls for the elimination of non-recyclable (waxed) containers, and the impacts on the collection and use of treated corrugated in mill systems.

The joint committee’s work was coordinated by the Corrugated Packaging Alliance (CPA). Dwight Schmidt, executive director, said, “Traditionally, boxes used in moist or wet applications are coated with non-recyclable wax. Striving to meet the needs of retailers and others throughout the supply chain, the corrugated industry has conducted extensive research and development of recyclable, alternative materials that can provide the same protective qualities as wax. While a handful of alternatives are available today, and others are in development, a standard for establishing their repulpability and recyclability is imperative for these new materials to succeed in the marketplace.”

The new draft standard has two test protocol requirements: repulpability and recyclability. The repulpability requirements establish a predictable impact in mill repulping systems, and the recyclability requirements establish predictability in the performance of the recycled content paper products made from the treated material. The new draft standard does not call for treated board or boxes to be separated from the normal OCC recovery stream.

The certification symbol is a modified version of the international “Corrugated Recycles” symbol, endorsed by the International Corrugated Case Association (ICCA) for reliable identification of recyclable materials. Testing may be done at a company’s own lab or at a qualified third-party lab. The entire draft standard and a list of qualified testing facilities may be viewed at

Interested parties are invited to submit written comments or attend a forum to discuss the standard and the testing protocol. Written comments should be directed to Hal Tanner, HT Consulting Services, 75 Duck Pond Place, Georgetown, SC 29440. The final deadline for the submission of written comments is April 1, 2005. The forum will be held at the O’Hare Doubletree Hotel in Chicago on March 21, 2005, at 1 p.m. Members of the committee that developed the standard will be on hand for the discussion. While the comment deadline is after the forum, anyone who would like to have their input considered and discussed at the forum should submit comments prior to March 16, 2005.

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