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Kraft paper/boxboard: WestRock reports jump in e-com use of 'fiber-based' mailers, credits connect to packaging machinery

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Kraft paper/boxboard: WestRock reports jump in e-com use of 'fiber-based' mailers, credits connect to packaging machinery

August 14, 2020 - 19:00

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 14, 2020 (PPI Pulp & Paper Week) -WestRock reported an increased demand for its unbleached kraft paper mailers that are being used more actively by e-commerce companies.

The company's CMO and corrugated packaging pres Jeff Chalovich told analysts on Aug. 4 that "some of our large e-commerce customers" moved to "fiber-based mailers vs the plastic mailers, and that started off as a small trial of 30,000 a month and it's up to 800,000 a month and growing." Chalovich's comments are according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.

Chalovich credited the company's packaging machinery along with the substrate for moving so broadly into the mailer business. Some recent e-commerce deliveries, such as of golf shirts, are now in the unbleached kraft paper packaging pouch.

"This is the Pak on Demand pouch system product. … A lot of that is going to be unbleached kraft, though I can't say all, as we make boxboard mailers as well," a WestRock official told Fastmarkets RISI'sPPI Pulp & Paper Week, after the company's earnings call on Aug. 4.

WestRock said that by "3D scanning products on a conveyor, (the) Pak On Demand Pouch System creates custom, right-sized pouches and seals the package for shipment. The result is a highly protective package that is completely curbside recyclable. The Pak On Demand Pouch System eliminates unnecessary void fill and shipping charges, increases pack efficiency and decreases labor costs."

WestRock CEO Steve Voorhees told analysts that 63 of the company's packaging machines were installed at customer plants in the April-to-June quarter. So far, the company has installed 3,900 packaging machines, he said.

 Last year,Amazonreleased a fully recyclable paper-padded mailer, and since the launch, more than 190 million of the mailers have been shipped to US customers,USA Todayreported recently.

 Mondiin its recent earnings presentation showed its bleached paper mailer that it called "100% renewable, recyclable, and (a) highly protective alternative." Mondi said its bleached paper mail can replace LDPE or paper mailers that "use bubble foil protective padding."

 DS Smithsaid it is working with biodegradable polymer developer Aquapak on fibre-based packaging alternatives. "By working together, the two organizations can provide sustainable fibre based packaging solutions that will replace hard to recycle packaging made from combined materials such as cardboard and plastic," the companies said recently in a release. One application the companies have worked on is Aquapak's Hydropol, a biodegradable and water-soluble polymer that is said to be a replacement for traditional plastic film.

--bygrudder@fastmarkets.com