Archive for the ‘Containerboard’ Category

RoHS Compliance

August 23, 2017

Scott asks,

We have a customer that is shipping products into Europe and they want to know if our packaging is RoHS compliant. Do you have any information on RoHS requirements or specifications?

The RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) used in Europe and Asia is very similar to our CONEG (Coalition of Northeastern Governors) regulations. Both focus on the reduction and control of toxics (heavy metals, phenyls and phthalates) in packaging. RoHS included six initial substances; Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Hexavalent Chromium, Polybrominated Biphenyls and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers.

In the 2015 Directive revision four additional substances were added to the list of regulated substances. These included Bis(2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate, Benzyl butyl phthalate, Dibutyl phthalate and Diisobutyl phthalate.

Your board supplier should be able to provide a COA or Certificate of Compliance or the paperboard you purchase from them. You may also want to solicit the same from your ink and glue suppliers too just to have them on record. Also keep in mind that labels, stickers and films are also considered part of your packaging. The exceptions are stickers or labels required by governmental agencies to meet health and safety or transportation requirements.

You can find additional information on RoHS at, and for more information on CONEG visit

— Ralph


Is Corrugated Safe for Hospital Environments?

August 22, 2017

Gary asks,

We have a customer who is sending their product into a hospital environment inside our corrugated box. The end user, the hospital, is concerned about the absorbency of corrugated playing host to unwanted microbes and potentially transporting them into the hospital. See their message below:

“As you know we package our pulp products in corrugated cardboard boxes.  We are hearing of certain hospitals becoming concerned that cardboard boxes are unhygienic (as they are absorbent and can’t easily be kept clean) and can harbor bugs and should not be brought into clean areas of the hospital.  Do you know of materials that don’t harbor bugs and that could be used to ‘box’ these types of products?”

Our corrugated is food grade safe (CFIA approved) and we were always understanding that the corrugating process adds to the assurance that linerboard and medium do not attract or play host to microbes.

I just recently read an article from Food Safety News (Feb, 2016) that references research available through the CPA regarding the safety of corrugated. The studies performed by FBA and independent 3rd party universities, show that corrugated enters the food stream microbe free. Pathogens cannot survive the high temperatures (180 – 200 degrees F) used in the corrugated manufacturing process. If the manufacture’s process is CFIA approved then the packaging should remain clean throughout the process. I would think that the only potential lapse in protection may occur during the shipping and handling process between the brand owner and the end user, in this case the hospital.

One would think that if the brand owner is providing medical supplies they would have a cleanliness standard that would exceed even the CFIA certification. If they are delivering in their own vehicles you would think that this standard also extends to that portion of the chain of custody. Then once inside the medical facility, one would hope that cleanliness wouldn’t be an issue.

These studies also show that Reusable Plastic Cartons (RPCs) can have a higher risk of microbial organisms (up to 10 million) due to repeated use and probably inadequate or improper sanitizing before and after use.

Here is a link to the reports.

— Ralph

What is the difference between ECT and ECV?

June 9, 2017

Charles asks,

What is the difference between ECT and ECV?

ECT (Edge Crush Test) is the testing method. ECV (Edge Crush Value) is the actual outcome or reported result of the Edge Crush Test. ECT is a measured in pounds per lineal inch of load bearing edge. Though it may sometimes be reported as ECV or lb/in it is typically reported or listed as an ECT value such as 23 ECT.

ETC has widely replaced the use of the Mullen test as ECT is considered by most as a more accurate test of the stacking strength of a corrugated box. It measures the edgewise compressive strength of a corrugated sample on an axis parallel to the sheet. Mullen, on the other hand, measures the bursting strength of the face of the corrugated sample, or on an axis perpendicular to the sheet.

– Ralph


Moisture Test Comparison MRA vs. non-MRA Box

May 24, 2017

Steve asks,

Would you have or could you please direct me towards any testing data/statistics on a box with MRA vs. a non-MRA box?  I would like to see what kind of improvement it shows in a moisture-related test.

The dimensions, flutes and composition range (very small to large boxes; B/C, E/B, and B flutes; 32ECT to 71ECT), and I don’t have much info on supply chain.  A customer just looking for any testing data that he can get on MRA to demonstrate that it does improve performance in moisture.

For assistance with answering this question I reached out to Clayton Clancy at Kruger. He has provided this this detailed study on stacking performance when using water-resistant adhesives, complied by the Institute of Paper Chemistry, which high-lights paperboard performance improvements when using WRA additives. He cautions that there are varying terminologies used when discussing water resistance such as (MRA, WRA and WPA), with that in mind I hope this will be helpful.

— Ralph