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Recycling: Packaging Industry Unites Behind Residential Recycling Initiative

By Paper and Packaging Board

May 18, 2023

(Images courtesy of the Paper and Packaging Board.)

Unable to ignore the climate crisis any longer, businesses are increasingly searching for more sustainable solutions. Switching to paper-based packaging is one of the easiest and most substantial ways to make an impact. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 68% of paper-based products are recycled, compared with only 5% of plastics.

With e-commerce on the rise, the onus is increasingly on consumers to correctly dispose of their boxes. The majority of consumers believe corrugated is worth recycling. However, 2 out of 3 consumers confess to not always recycling. Education is imperative to increasing the residential recycling rate and creating a circular economy. That’s why manufacturers and brands from across the packaging industry are uniting behind Box to Nature, a new residential recycling initiative.

Unlike other recycling programs, Box to Nature is specific to paper-based packaging. The campaign mark provides instructions on how to properly recycle the material right on the box—“Empty, Flatten, Recycle”—and directs consumers to scan a QR code that leads to a microsite ( with an interactive quiz and additional recycling tips. The mark is free to use by any company shipping goods to consumers and is a great way for brands to showcase their commitment to sustainability.

Rolled out just this past year, the program has already made waves throughout the packaging sphere, with 10 million boxes bearing the mark printed in the fourth quarter of 2022 alone. To date, 22 box producers have signed on to the program. This figure includes large manufacturers and smaller independent companies alike. “The need to increase the recovery of reusable material is bigger than any one company. We need all hands on deck to achieve our goal of raising the residential recycling rate,” says Mary Anne Hansan, president of the Paper and Packaging Board (P+PB), the national consumer marketing campaign spearheading the program.

Adds Greg Tucker, chairman and CEO of Bay Cities, “Only 40% of the corrugated boxes shipped to our homes in America are getting recycled. This is hampering our ability to produce new boxes from old boxes because we are not encouraging consumers to break down these boxes and put them in a recycling bin.”

With a solid foundation, Box to Nature is ramping up efforts to bring more brands and companies into the fold. As well as targeting additional independent boxmakers, the program is prioritizing building awareness among large e-commerce brands through a LinkedIn campaign and direct outreach. New sales resources also have been launched to provide further support to participating companies. The program is optimistic about reaching its goal of having 125 million boxes with the mark printed in 2023.

Join the movement to get every residential box back and give corrugated fibers up to seven lives! If you would like to participate or learn more about Box to Nature, contact P+PB at or visit