Has Bleached White become more environmentally friendly?

Pat asks;

My question today is about bleach white paper. In the years past I know the bleach white paper has been bad for the environment when thrown away. Have there been changes chemically in recent years to make this paper safer for disposal?

The reason for the question is I am in the middle of a corrugated cost savings project. I received a very competitive bid from a company and come to find out the quoted a material which they call Snow White. They then said the corrugated world is going away from bleach white because it is harmful to the environment. My current supplier says there have been changes to the bleach white so trying to find out what is true when it comes to this.

I hope this question makes sense to you and please let me know if it doesn’t.

Thank you for the question Pat. It’s great to have dialog with end-users like yourself.

White printing corrugated substrates can be either fully bleached linerboard, white top linerboard with a brown base, or bleached label stock which is laminated to singlewall or doublewall constructions. Most bleaching operations in this country are elementary chlorine free. The whiting process is usually done with chlorine dioxide, a much safer chemical.

White top linerboard, or as you said Snow White which is a brand name, only contains only about 30-40 percent white fibres. It is certainly more cost effective.

We collect and recycle over 91% of all the corrugated that is used as shipping containers in this country so very little finds its way into landfills. Some other recovered corrugated finds its ways into fuel, mulch, shelter, and animal bedding-all good second uses. Over 50% of all new containerboard is made with recovered fibre in the United States.

– Ralph

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