Wax Coating Alternatives on the Rise, Wisconsin Testing Lab to Certify Them

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Because wax-coated boxes have a negative environmental and economic impact, the food packaging and corrugated paper industries have been seeking new alternatives. Wisconsin-based IPS Testing is part of the effort to move toward sustainable packaging and now serves as one of four testing labs authorized to certify recyclable, non-wax coatings.

The addition of a fourth testing lab will help move certifications forward at a time when the use of recyclable wax alternatives is growing dramatically.

IPS Testing has become the fourth testing lab in North America authorized to perform the testing protocol within the Voluntary Standard for Repulping and Recycling Corrugated Fiberboard. This approval comes from the Corrugated Packaging Alliance and allows IPS to certify new alternatives to wax coatings.

Often used in the food packaging industry, wax is a moisture barrier commonly applied to corrugated boxes to make containers stronger and aid in shipping cold foods such as meat and produce. Once boxes are treated with wax, they are not recyclable. There are also fees to dispose of them.

With the push toward more sustainable packaging for environmental and economic reasons, a recent study shows a 30 percent increase in the use of non-wax alternatives for 2010. As of July 2011, 38 wax alternatives have been registered with the Fibre Box Association (FBA) having passed certification testing.

The Voluntary Standard testing protocol is followed by IPS when certifying the repulpability and recyclability of wax alternatives. The company’s authorization comes after successful audits at its testing lab facilities and pulping and papermaking pilot plant of its subcontractor partner, the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology (WIST) at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

IPS and WIST join three other testing laboratories in the North American paper industry that have received approval to perform the Voluntary Standard protocol. These labs include NC State University, Department of Wood & Paper Science, in Raleigh, North Carolina; Western Michigan University Pilot Plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan; and Centre Spécialisé en Pâtes et Papiers (CSPP) in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada.

Dwight Schmidt, executive director of the Corrugated Packaging Alliance and president of the FBA explains, “The addition of a fourth testing lab will help move certifications forward at a time when the use of recyclable wax alternatives is growing dramatically.” Once materials are certified, there will be a wider range of sustainable packaging options for companies to choose from.

IPS Testing serves as an independent testing laboratory for many industries including, paper, pulp and print materials; food and packaging; nonwovens and consumer products; medical supplies; personal care and absorbent products; and allied industries. IPS Testing combines physical and analytical testing along with interpretive data analysis to offer testing services that help improve and ensure the quality of their clients’ products. For more information, contact Chris Reitmeyer at 920-609-1024, or visit http://www.ipstesting.com.

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Lori Van Handel
Willems Marketing
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