E-commerce is growing rapidly and thousands of plastic mailing bags and corrugated boxes are being shipped every second. BillerudKorsnäs has developed a durable and resilient paper for online retail mailing bags. The environmental benefit of using this kind of paper instead of plastic or recycled cardboard material has now been confirmed in a study performed by RISE, Research Institutes of Sweden.
The study is based on life cycle analyses which considers the environmental impacts from raw material input, production, transport and disposal. The results shows that choosing a mailing bag made of unbleached paper will reduce fossil emissions by 50 percent compared to virgin plastic. According to RISE, the finding is robust and holds true even across a range of parameters considered in the sensitivity analysis, such as different material specifications, locations and end-of-life assumptions.
“BillerudKorsnäs’ mission to challenge conventional packaging for a sustainable future clearly sets out why we exist and how we view our role in society. Xpression E-com is an example of how we think outside the box to fight climate change and reduce plastic use. We hope that the new study will help online retailers to replace their packaging with a more sustainable alternative,” says Malin Ljung Eiborn, EVP Sustainability at BillerudKorsnäs.
Since the paper mailing bag is recyclable and manufactured by BillerudKorsnäs’ near fossil free production units, the overall conclusion from the study is that this variant has a strong advantage over plastic bags and boxes of recycled corrugated material. When biogenic emissions are included, the study shows that 1,000 mailing bags of Xpression E-com removes 50 kilograms of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere across the life cycle. The paper is also better for the environment when considering emissions to air, water and soil that leads to eutrophication.