Promoting corrugated’s sustainable attributes, as well as its unsurpassed recycling rates


A new campaign - 'Beyond the Box' - has been launched to promote the benefits of corrugated, in response to growing consumer concern about packaging. Bringing together experts from leading UK packaging companies, 'Beyond the Box', launched by The Confederation of Paper Industries, will help Britons learn more about the nation’s most sustainable packaging choice. Growing media interest about the environmental impact of packaging, new government policy and plastic-free packaging strategies adopted by leading retailers has pushed packaging to the forefront of consumers’ minds.

To mark the campaign launch, 'Beyond the Box' has released exclusive new research which reveals a surge of interest in packaging among the general UK population.

  • Two in three Britons admit they’re worried about packaging and the types of materials used to package their favourite products, according to specially commissioned research, which surveyed more than 2,000 UK consumers.
  • Tellingly, consumers are so concerned about packaging that they are making changes to their purchasing habits. Almost three in five of those questioned (57%) revealed they are avoiding plastic bags in the supermarket, seeking recycled packaging or supporting local businesses such as greengrocers, butchers and fishmongers in an attempt to ease their worries.

What’s more, the nation’s trepidations are growing. More than a third (38%) of UK adults are more troubled by packaging now than this time a year ago.
‘Waste’, ‘frequent print, online and broadcast news items on packaging’, and ‘footage of ocean waste in Sir David Attenborough’s recent Blue Planet II series’ are among the biggest factors fuelling personal anxiety over packaging choices – cited by 59%, 40% and 31% of ‘worried’ respondents respectively.

A number of worriers (17 %) revealed packaging was now so high up the agenda, it has become ‘socially unacceptable’ not to care about packaging’s impact on the environment. Some 6% even admit that they have come under pressure from friends and family to think more carefully about their packaging choices. Meanwhile, for an astonishing 2.7 million Brits (5.3%), packaging is currently the ‘biggest’ concern in their lives.   

Despite the nation’s clear concern, according to those surveyed, responsibility for addressing and improving the UK’s record on packaging lies at the doors of food and drink manufacturers (cited by 41% of worriers), government (41%) and packaging suppliers (39%). Fewer than one in five (18%) believe that consumers have primary responsibility to improve the UK’s record on packaging.

Plastic is the material that concerns Brits the most, with 80% of packaging worriers naming it as a material which causes them the most anxiety. In contrast, paper and cardboard are some of the least concerning packaging materials for Britons, with just 8% and 6% of worriers naming these as anxiety-inducers.

'Beyond the Box' spokesman, Andrew Barnetson, explains, “Interest and concern about the UK’s packaging supply chain has never been higher. This new report from 'Beyond the Box' shows packaging is a subject which has shot up everyone’s agendas. Britons are changing the way they shop and make purchasing decisions, major high street retailers are reducing their use of single-use packaging and the Prime Minister has vowed to eliminate the UK’s avoidable plastic waste by 2042.” 

He continues, “Our research shows that no type of packaging is immune from criticism, so it is vital that we help to inform the debate. There is a fantastic opportunity for a sustainable, renewable and recyclable material like corrugated cardboard to play a leading role in helping consumers, government and industry reach exacting targets that are being set to improve the UK’s record on – and ultimately ease consumer concern about – packaging. This is a pivotal moment for the UK packaging industry and 'Beyond the Box' will help to ensure that corrugated has a clear role in helping to find the solutions we all seek.”

Beyond the Box has created a dedicated resource – – which will help consumers, media and retailers learn more about what makes corrugated cardboard special – and the UK’s sustainable packaging choice. The campaign will aim to re-shape Britain’s approach to packaging, educating the nation about the effects of their packaging choices and inspiring Britons to take action.