Microflute solution as alternative to traditional rigid boxes

Metsä Board has designed a lighter gift package that has strength features close to those of the rigid box solutions currently used for premium products such as cosmetics. With the new design, made from microflute corrugated board, the company wanted to present a new gift box solution that uses less material and has a lower carbon footprint than traditional rigid boxes.

The team at Metsä Board’s Excellence Centre in Äänekoski, Finland started to work on the new alternative a few years ago. “We were looking to provide the same experience by remodeling a box that was strong and rigid but lighter and with a smaller environmental impact,” explains Ilkka Harju, Packaging Services Director, Metsä Board.

The best solution turned out to be microflute. The packaging consists of a separate base and lid – its surface liner can be uncoated white kraftliner or coated white kraftliner. Of these, the latter gives the package the best printing properties.

The packaging solution is designed to be production-efficient from start to finish and suitable for mass production on current production lines – with no major retooling required. According to Harju, the new gift packaging solution is an ideal fit, especially for cosmetics, chocolate, beverages and other premium products.

“Cosmetics are probably the number one application area, but the material can be customised very easily to create special packaging solutions,” Harju says.

The new lightweight solution also uses significantly less material. Metsä Board’s Sustainability Services team compared the new microflute solution to recycled fibre-based rigid box solutions and found the microflute concept to be up to 50% lighter.

The cradle-to-gate carbon footprint of the new solution – which considers value chain stages from raw materials extraction until the paperboard product leaves the mill – was also calculated and found to be 59% lower than that of traditional solutions.

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