Ecological ideas and alternatives

Much has been written and discussed about the "ecological footprint". It is always about the central question of how many resources nature has to provide us with for our respective lifestyles? Or put even more directly: How many Earths do we need to live like this? Since 1970, humanity has already been consuming more resources than the ecosystems can provide us with, especially the industrialised nations. So action must be taken and every step, no matter how small, counts.

The striking idea of the Footprint was born in the 1990s to make lifestyles measurable. The ecological footprint is comparable to an accounting system for the environmental resources of our earth that we use for food, housing, mobility and consumption. Private individuals and companies have known for a long time that we only have one Earth. Therefore, every single person and every company is challenged every day to reduce their own consumption of biocapacity to a minimum. DREI V GmbH and the entire team also face up to this responsibility.

As an innovative Bavarian manufacturer and distributor of corrugated cardboard shipping packaging, we focus our sustainability on various factors that we believe have great leverage for the environment: Renewable and recyclable raw materials, energy-efficient production processes, reduced-volume packaging solutions as well as single-material packaging and packaging without filler material. We have been following this path very consistently for years in order to keep the ecological footprint of DREI V GmbH as small as possible.

Broken and thinned wood is the most important raw material for the production of corrugated base paper.

Online trade in the focus of consumers

Online trade has been enjoying great growth worldwide for years, as many consumers simply appreciate it when the goods ordered in a shop are delivered quickly and conveniently in safe and environmentally friendly shipping packaging. According to industry experts, this trend will continue or even increase. In order for the packaged goods to arrive safely at the consumer's door, stable and resource-saving packaging solutions are needed that are ideally also completely recyclable.

Online trade is booming and growing steadily.

On a side note: Whether you shop online or in a stationary store has only a minor influence on possible greenhouse gas emissions, as the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) Dessau-Roßlau found in its study "The Economisation of Online Trade". According to the study, it can be more ecological to have a product delivered to one's home than to drive a few kilometres to the shop in one's own car. Better utilised delivery vehicles and efficiently planned routes play a decisive role here. All in all, in online retailing the parameters of ordering, shipping packaging, storage and distribution centres, transport to the destination packing centre and transport over the last mile as well as any returns must be taken into account when calculating the life cycle assessment.

Corrugated board as a raw material and its environmental benefits

Corrugated board is a comparatively young invention that began its unstoppable triumphal march in the middle of the 19th century: in 1874, the American Oliver Long succeeded for the first time in gluing a corrugated paper web to a smooth paper. This is how the first single-sided corrugated board came into being. In 1882, the American Robert T. Thompson followed suit and received the first patent for double-sided corrugated board, which he produced in a mechanical corrugator. Since the 19th century, corrugated packaging has experienced rapid growth as it has been used worldwide as a versatile and ecological material. At DREI V, we have relied on this special material for our high-quality shipping packaging since the company was founded in 1982.

Corrugated board is almost completely recycled and is therefore considered an exemplary closed-loop product with a favourable eco-balance.

More knowledge about corrugated board

Wood is the most important raw material for both paper and corrugated board. In the meantime, forest owners, in cooperation with the paper industry, have managed to ensure that at least one new tree is planted for every tree felled. In fact, between 2005 and 2015, the forest cover in Europe increased by more than 44,000 square kilometres.

3 different fibre products are obtained from the raw material wood:

  • ­Wood pulp in the mechanical process,
  • Semi-pulp in the semi-chemical process and
  • Pulp in the chemical process.

The paper grades used for the production of corrugated board differ in quality and price due to the raw materials. With the two variables of paper grade and basis weight, corrugated board can be produced for a wide range of requirements. At DREI V, the experts in development and production select the optimum material grade for the purpose, depending on the product and requirement. However, the core of the corrugated board is always the sinusoidal flute, which, depending on the product group, is finished with one or more smooth liner webs. The parameters of bursting strength, puncture work and edge crush resistance are decisive for use as shipping packaging.

A heart for corrugated board - and thus for the environment.

Corrugated base paper for linerboard is divided into the following 3 groups:

  • Testliner: It is the number 1 in the corrugated board industry with a market share of around 40 percent and consists of 100 percent recovered paper.
  • Kraftliner: It is considered a high-quality raw material and is often used for particularly resistant transport packaging. Kraft liner can be dyed and is also easy to print on. However, its eco-balance is significantly worse than that of testliner quality.
  • Schrenz: This is made from unsorted waste paper and only meets the minimum quality in terms of strength. Its life cycle assessment is good, but the areas of application are very limited for shipping packaging.

You can rely on the DREI V experts to select the right material and optimum processing for each individual shipping package, weighing up environmental aspects and areas of application. In this context, sustainable means for us that we strive for the best possible quality with the smallest ecological footprint.

Further information on wood as a raw material and on processing can be found at the Association of the Corrugated Board Industry:

What makes corrugated board so valuable for DREI V shipping packaging?

Recyclable corrugated board.

The advantages are obvious:

  • Corrugated board is a natural talent: the raw material (fibres from wood) is preferably obtained from sustainable forestry and is a renewable raw material. Primarily, broken and thinned wood is used for the production of corrugated board.
  • Corrugated board is FSC®-certified: DREI V only uses FSC®-certified raw materials from controlled forestry. According to the European Federation of Corrugated Fibreboard Industries (FEFCO), the CO₂ footprint of corrugated board is 531 kilograms of CO₂ per tonne of corrugated board - a very good value compared to other packaging materials.
  • Corrugated board is good for the cycle: Corrugated board is an exemplary closed-loop product that can be recycled and reused up to ten times. Moreover, it is a mono-product of one type only. Glue obtained from maize, wheat or potato starch is used to glue the paper webs together.
  • Corrugated board is a recycling winner: Packaging made of corrugated board is 100 per cent recyclable, biodegradable and harmless to people and the environment. That is why it is very important that consumers reuse the old packaging or feed it into the recycling loop. On average, 80 percent of corrugated board consists of used corrugated board, waste paper or cardboard.
  • Corrugated board is a security: used corrugated board packaging is a valuable raw material. Incidentally, DREI V itself feeds almost 10 tonnes of waste paper from the production process into the recycling loop every month. The so-called secondary fibre paper has numerous advantages: The process water requirement for recovered paper is many times lower than for paper production from wood. And the total energy requirement is even three to four times lower than for paper production from wood. In addition, forest resources are relieved worldwide and recycled material is the "raw material of short distances", as it can usually be extracted locally and delivered with short transport distances.
  • Corrugated board is climate-friendly: Every corrugated board packaging is also a small contribution to active climate protection. Because like every tree, paper and corrugated board also bind CO₂. One tonne of paper still contains around 1.33 tonnes of bound CO₂ (source: ICFPA - International Council of Forest and Paper Associations). And even paper fibres that can no longer be recycled are climate-neutral in any case.

Corrugated board packaging versus plastic packaging

Admittedly: At first glance, plastics are practical and inexpensive as packaging materials. In the meantime, however, these products, which are made from fossil fuels (crude oil), are coming under increasing criticism. They are considered climate killers and resource wasters, they pollute our waters and microplastics even enter the human body via the food chain. Disposing of the plastics puts an additional burden on the climate.

Climate killer Plastics pollute the world's oceans.

The good news: according to a study by the Gesellschaft für Verpackungsmarktforschung (GVM), one fifth of the packaging plastics used in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH) can be replaced annually by environmentally friendly corrugated board products. This would save more than 825,000 tonnes of plastic per year. In the mail order business, as much as 75 percent of all plastic packaging can be replaced by corrugated board. "Get out of the plastic trap" is therefore the motto. And representatives of the German Environmental Foundation are emphatically calling for the increased use of fibre-based materials made from renewable raw materials such as corrugated board, cardboard or paper. We at DREI V have long heard the call and therefore produce shipping packaging exclusively from environmentally friendly corrugated board.

Volume-reduced shipping packaging and transport

According to the German E-Commerce and Mail Order Association (Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel Deutschland), a quarter of consumers in Germany ordered online at least once a month in 2019 and had the goods delivered to their homes. Already in 2017, Germans shopped for 24 packages per capita and year.

So when it comes to the ecological footprint and reducing CO2 emissions in the mail order business, it is worth taking a closer look at two factors:

  • How can transport routes be optimised and routes efficiently planned?
  • How much air is actually transported in the shipping packaging (keyword "volume reduction") because the packaging is far too large compared to the packaged goods or too much filling material is used?

Here are some interesting figures and a calculation example:

  • ­A single parcel shipment causes around 600 grams of CO2 emissions, in the case of a return even 1,200 grams.
  • According to the industry association, around 3.5 billion parcels were sent in Germany alone in 2019 (including returns).
  • Although numerous delivery services have now optimised their route planning with software, on average a third of the air is still transported in the bulging delivery vans. Why? Because the parcels are often far too big for the packaged goods or because superfluous or even environmentally harmful plastic filling material is used.

Our DREI V suggestion for more sustainability:
If the volume of parcels could be reduced by a third or even half by using more precisely fitting shipping packaging solutions and unnecessary filling material, approximately 500,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions could be saved annually in Germany alone. We at DREI V have the tailor-made products for this.

Environmental protection also means reducing CO2 emissions.

We see enormous potential here for sustainable business and active environmental protection. That's why we have developed DREI V shipping packaging solutions that are precisely designed to generate as little volume as possible during shipping and in some cases completely eliminate unnecessary filling material. And of course, the packaged goods, regardless of whether they are delicate or very sensitive, are transported safely to the recipient. With the innovative ECOSNAP paper fixation packaging, DREI V GmbH even won the WorldStar Award 2023 in the E-Commerce category in 2023 and the German Packaging Award in the Logistics and Material Flow category in 2022.

Produced in a climate-neutral way from 100% renewable raw materials, the packaged goods can be fixed in place using an innovative tensioning technique with soda crepe paper and guarantees maximum product protection entirely without film and without additional filling material. The environmentally friendly closure design ensures maximum security without the use of adhesives.

DREI V retention packaging - the intelligent solutions

Retention packaging from DREI V is definitely more than just shipping packaging made of sustainable corrugated board. With this intelligent fast packaging, even sensitive products survive the transport route to the customer safely and reliably. And with a convincing eco-balance in the luggage.

In our opinion, the most environmentally friendly type of shipping packaging is the paper retention packaging from DREI V: PAPERSNAP, PAPERPAC and SAFEBOX. Thanks to the innovative combination of corrugated board and paper insert, each is a single-material or mono-packaging that can be 100 percent recycled after use. Since the packaged goods can be compactly and securely enclosed and fixed in place with a flexible paper insert, there is no need for additional filling materials. In this way, primary raw materials can be saved and the volume of the shipping packaging can be consistently reduced. Of course, like all other products from our company, these shipping packages offer optimum protection, the practical self-adhesive closure and perfect handling. Further information about these products is available here:

Our innovative and in some cases award-winning paper retention packaging.

When it comes to particularly sensitive products, for example from medical technology or electronic components, we recommend as an alternative our DREI V film retention packaging QUICKSNAP, MULTISNAP or EASYSNAP. These products are extremely stable and resistant quick packaging, which work with a special film. Sometimes even we can't do without a film for safety reasons, but nevertheless we pay attention to the environment here: This is because you can do without additional filling materials or padding, even with heavy or unwieldy products, because of the precision-fit fixation. All packaging can later be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner, unseparated with waste paper.

Sometimes film retention packaging is also the environmentally friendly solution.

A small calculation example of CO2 reduction through saved filling material with our film retention packaging:
Assuming a DIN A 4 base area and a saving of 5 cm filling height for 3.5 billion parcels sent per year in Germany (as of 2019), this results in a calculated savings potential of approx. 500,000 tonnes (compared to natural fillers such as cellulose) to more than 5 million tonnes of CO2 compared to foam.

With film retention packaging from DREI V, you combine environmental protection and product protection in a congenial way. Detailed information about our film retention packaging can be found here: