Campaign launched to make cartonboard official

The campaign was launched during an event at London’s Charing Cross
The campaign was launched during an event at London’s Charing Cross

Pro Carton has launched a campaign to make cartonboard an official term after it was found that despite universal use of the material, the word is broadly unrecognised.

The European Association of Carton and Cartonboard Manufacturers, Pro Carton points out that while a survey of 1,000 UK consumers, carried out by Coleman Parkes, found that 850 shoppers regularly chose products packed in cartonboard as opposed to plastic, the word itself can not be found in an official English dictionary and is not recognised by computers.

As such the organisation has launched a campaign to have the word included in dictionaries with a full definition.

Cartonboard is paper-based material used to make cartons for packaging food, drink and cosmetics. It uses paper fibres from renewable resources and can be recycled up to 25 times, making it one of the most environmentally sound packaging materials, according to Pro Carton, with major brands such as CocaCola and Heineken switching over to it in 2019.

Pro Carton general manager Tony Hitchin told Printweek: “In the UK we seem to be a bit unsophisticated in our ability to describe different sorts of materials. Cartonboard has been used for many a year but cardboard seems to be the term applied to all manner of products, and this is what we are trying to address.

"We want to raise understanding of the environmental friendliness of cartonboard as a packaging material, its renewable and recyclable and really meets the criteria of a circular economy.

"To do that we feel we need to get the term approved in the Oxford English dictionary as a start, for which we have already applied, and then eventually get computer programs corrected so that its recognised by them and hopefully consumer awareness will follow."

Hitchin said it was important to distinguish cartonboard from cardboard – a more general term – as well as corrugated cardboard – generally used for transport packaging. 

"There is a global desire to use more sustainable materials, not just in packaging, and cartonboard is one of the most environmentally materials on offer. We are seeing, consistently week by week, brand owners and retailers moving away from less sustainable materials to cartonboard. It requires investment for companies to make the switch but it is happening."

The campaign was launched shortly before Christmas during an event at London’s Charing Cross, which featured a 1.5m tall dictionary made entirely of cartonboard and featuring a definition of the word that Pro Carton want to be included in the dictionary.