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Could Quilted Northern’s Packaging Switch Lead to Increased Paper Demand?

Could Quilted Northern’s Packaging Switch Lead to Increased Paper Demand?

Quilted Northern, a popular brand under Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products, has recently announced an exciting change. The company will now offer paper packaging for its highly sought-after Ultra Soft & Strong line.

This step positions Quilted Northern as the first national toilet paper brand to introduce recyclable paper packaging in major retail stores. Its development showcases Quilted Northern's commitment to sustainability while setting a new standard for the industry as a whole.

A Breakdown of Quilted Northern’s New Paper Packaging

The paper packaging will be applied to the brand’s 6 Mega packs and Amazon case packs. With this new implementation, it can eliminate approximately 500,000 pounds of plastic waste each year, according to the company.

The new paper packaging is produced using a 2.4 mil-thick virgin fiber that incorporates some adhesive coatings. The coatings do not affect the recyclability profile of the fiber. Perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of this new packaging is manufacturing compatibility. It can be produced on existing equipment with only some minor retrofits.

The previous packaging for Quilted Northern consisted of LDPE plastic shrink film, a durable and water-resistant material. The properties of this material ensured successful navigation through the supply chain and to consumers’ homes without damage. Therefore, the new paper-based packaging to needed to possess these same qualities.

While the paper packaging has successfully demonstrated its ability to withstand potential tears and punctures throughout the supply chain, it falls short of being completely waterproof. However, it is specifically designed to offer adequate water resistance. This means the product will be protected during routine transportation, such as when you're taking the package from the store to your car during a storm.

All 6 Mega and Amazon case packs will only be available in new recyclable paper packaging. “The paper packaging increases access and ease of recycling and reduces plastic waste while still providing shoppers with the same quality and comfort expected from the brand,” stated Sustainability Director, GP Todd Wingfield.

What Potential Does This Present for the Pulp and Paper Industry?

According to Zippia, Quilted Northern is the 6th largest toilet paper brand in the United States. Given its prominent position as a leading brand, the decision to introduce paper packaging has the potential to significantly influence other companies to replace unneeded plastic.

With Quilted Northern alone expected to replace 500,000 pounds of plastic waste a year, how much paper consumption would this create? Let’s do some math.

Assuming the packaging dimensions were approximately 825 square inches, and the current plastic wrap weighs 0.044 pounds, we can calculate that it amounts to 0.0000529 pounds per square inch. Thus, replacing 500,000 pounds of plastic would require roughly 65,637471 square feet of plastic to be replaced with the paper packaging.

As a 2.4mil unbleached virgin kraft sheet comes at a basis weight around 39-40 pounds/3,000 square feet replacing 500,000 pounds of plastic with paper would necessitate around 853,286 pounds of paper. This would equivalate to 426 short tons of paper – replacing the currently used 250 short tons of plastic.

It’s important to note that these numbers are not exact and instead represent a general sense of thinking surrounding the amount of paper required to replace Quilted Northern’s plastic waste.

Are You Considering the Critical Questions?

These numbers, depicting the paper requirement solely for Quilted Northern, demonstrate the significantly favorable effect the shift to plastic replacements could have on paper producers. As we contemplate the future of this exciting trend, it is crucial to consider some important questions.

  • Are more companies considering a switch from plastic packaging to paper? If so, which ones?
  • What direction is the tissue and towel sector heading towards? How will that play a role in the shift to paper packaging for end products?
  • How does the life cycle analysis of paper packaging compare to plastic regarding consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and waste generation?
  • What is the consumer perception of paper packaging compared to plastic?

To gain a deeper understanding of the plastic replacement trend and find solutions to the questions above, ResourceWise can provide you with the necessary tools to equip you for better success. Our unmatched expertise and tailored solutions for those in the pulp and paper industry enable you to make profitable decisions that give you a competitive edge.

How Will Sustainability Trends Impact the Pulp and Paper Industry? Download our eBook today. 

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