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The agricultural sector is the largest consumer of corrugated cardboard

A sector that is booming, which consolidates Spain as the fourth producing country and provides over 22,000 jobs.

In 2016, the top corrugated cardboard consumption in Spain corresponded to the agricultural produce sector, with 23.2%; followed by food products (16.5%), beverages (15%), and conversion of corrugated cardboard (11.4%). With smaller percentages are sectors such as audio, electronics and the automotive industry (8.7%), industrial products (7%) or chemical and perfumery products (5%).

Our country is consolidated as the fourth in corrugated cardboard production in Europe, behind Germany, Italy and France. In 2016, we produced 4,952 million square metres of this material, 4.06% more than in the previous year. In total, the figure rises to 2,951,000 tonnes of paper used in 2016, as may be deduced from the sectorial report by the Spanish Association of Manufacturers of Corrugated Cardboard Containers and Packaging (AFCO).

The total invoicing for the sector, both direct and indirect, reached 4,476 million euros last year with a total of 71 corrugating companies and 89 factories of this material all over Spain. These employed, including direct and indirect jobs, over 22,750 workers in 2016. In Europe, the figure for direct jobs rose to 100,000.

“Once again, this year the corrugated cardboard industry in Spain has been strengthened by figures that show consumers’ preferences for a material that is environmentally friendly, more hygienic, which lengthens the shelf life of fresh produce and that optimises storage, logistics and transport. Thanks to this, in Spain the sector is making a significant contribution to economic growth, to the creation of local jobs and to sustainable development by offering society the light packaging alternative that is manufactured using sustainable sources and that once used, is 100% recyclable and biodegradable”, the chairman of AFCO, Leopoldo Santorromán stated.

The average consumption of corrugated cardboard per inhabitant corresponding to these sectors in 2016 was 57.26 kg of cardboard.

Preference for cardboard amongst consumers

A recent study prepared by AFCO and by Feedback Estrategia e Investigación Sociológica, placed corrugated cardboard as the container that enjoys the best environmental reputation amongst Spaniards. The barometer entitled, “Containers and packaging: society’s perception”, places this material as the most sustainable at 76.6%, compared to plastic which obtained 10.7%. In addition, in the case of fruit and vegetables, 70.5% of those surveyed were more inclined towards single use boxes that can be recycled such as those made from paper and cardboard because, in their opinion, they are more hygienic.

Growth forecast

For 2018, the international association ICCA (International Corrugated Case Association) forecasts a worldwide production of corrugated cardboard of 246,970 million square metres. 52.42% would be located in the Asia/Pacific region, followed by Europe, with 21.97%; North America with 17.15%; South and Central America with 5.61% and 2.85% in the rest of the world.

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