Environmental benefits

Natural raw material

Fibre drums are a natural product, manufactured from wood fibres. The soft-wood trees harvested as raw material are grown in a sustainable manner, in managed, purpose‐grown forests. For every tree used, a new one is planted. These fast‐growing softwood trees are very effective at reducing CO2 and are not grown in place of older, more environmentally-sensitive hardwoods. Also, around a quarter of forestry land used by kraft fibre suppliers is set aside for conservation.

Life cycle efficiency

Fibre drums can be re‐used multiple times when handled and stored properly. At the end of their lives, the components of the drums can be easily separated and their main component recycled back into fibre‐board pulp, to be re-used again in the manufacture of new paper products. The other products used as minor components in some fibre drums (metals,  plastics and wood), can also be recycled in their own waste streams once separated.

Low energy use

The main component of the fibre drum manufacturing process – the kraft tube for the body of the drum – does not have any of the high energy processing demands of raw materials such as steel, plastic or glass. Rolling kraft tubes is carried out at normal, ambient temperatures, with minimum energy use and waste production.

The above graphic, courtesy of the Forestry Commission of England, demonstrates just how much lower the carbon dioxide emissions produced in the manufacture of an item from wood are, in comparison to an item from plastic or metal. Only 17g of CO2 are produced in the making of a wooden spoon, while 200g are produced to make a plastic spoon and 460g to make a metal spoon.

Space efficiency

Unlike steel or plastic drums, the height (and therefore the capacity) of the fibre drum can be easily adjusted in the manufacturing process. Therefore our manufacturers can make containers in custom sizes, to maximise transport efficiency when packing and shipping your product, resulting in lower energy use in transport.

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Continuous improvement

SEFFI provides advice and support to our members on manufacturing and operating in as environmentally-friendly a way as possible. A qualified Chartered Environmentalist sits on our Committee; and we maintain close communication with the European and International Standards Organisation Committees on Packaging and the Environment. We also help our members keep up to date on any developments related to the UN and ADR/RID Transport Regulations.

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Moving towards a circular economy

The fibre drum is a perfect example of the circular economy in action. Fibre drums can be re-used, then recycled to manufacture new products.


Reuse

Fibre drums are robust enough to be used many times over, where certification and supply chain permit. If procedure only allows single-use in certain circumstances, they can be re-used for other products, such as waste.

Two pallets containing separated steel and paper elements of fibre drums for recycling

Recycle

When a fibre drum is ready to move to the next stage of its life, any steel chimbs are easily removed using a de-chimber (see suppliers below) and the fibre tubes are pressed into bales for efficient transport. They are cleaned and shredded for re-purposing.

Paper – from which fibre drums are made – is in fact the most recycled material in the world.

RECYCLING RATES IN THE EU
  • Paper: 85%
  • Metal: 74%
  • Glass: 73%
  • Plastic: 37%

Source: eurostat 2013


Benefits of fibre drums to the circular economy, in a nutshell

  • Renewable raw material.
  • Sustainable: SEFFI members use only suppliers with global certification standards (FSC®, PEFC™).
  • Transparent supply chain.
  • Easy recyclability.
  • Significantly lower carbon footprint than alternatives.
  • Significantly lower water footprint than alternatives.