It is high time for eco-friendly packaging.

A growing number of consumers are expecting companies to provide environmentally conscious packaging for brands and products with a view to protecting the environment, conserving resources and acting sustainably. And right at the top of their list of requirements is reduced plastic usage or substituting plastic for something else entirely. In addition to the selection of materials, other parameters are becoming important too, including the likes of production, supply chain, waste management, energy concept and reduced carbon footprint, to ensure the packaging produced really is eco-friendly.

As a manufacturer of cardboard packaging, Karl Knauer specialises in environmentally friendly packaging solutions. We develop and produce packaging that is sustainable and at the same time attractive. During the process, we are aided by our unique development process that every new packaging must undergo. This includes: Environmentally friendly choice of materials, low-resource production, social responsibility, etc. Learn more about our development process.


Three principles for eco-friendly, sustainable packaging:

1. Renewable raw materials for folding boxes

Cardboard is made of the renewable raw material wood, so it is one of the most sustainable packaging materials around. The process used to extract the raw material and the way cardboard is produced, used and disposed of promote eco-friendliness. Those who use FSC® and PEFC-certified materials are demonstrably supporting sustainable forestry and are ensuring that the carbon footprint in the fibre cycle is balanced. Renewable forests absorb the carbon released by cardboard, paperboard or paper packaging and promotional products at the end of their life cycles (The German Pulp and Paper Association (VDP) and the European Carton Makers Association (ECMA):

2. Reusing recycled materials

Cardboard is sustainable, environmentally friendly and conserves our resources: Indeed, no other product is recycled quite as intensely as cardboard, paperboard or paper packaging. The fact that the raw material is reused several times over conserves resources in all areas, including energy and water consumption. The recycling rate for cardboard, paperboard and paper in Europe is around 81% (Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI). In Europe, 60% of folding boxes are made of recycled cardboard. Recycled cardboard is an exceptionally environmentally friendly packaging solution. (The German Pulp and Paper Association (VDP) and the European Carton Makers Association (ECMA):

3. Reduced material usage

Smart packaging designs minimise material usage considerably. Sustainable packaging is characterised by the fact that it is made of eco-friendly materials and designed to be particularly sparing in its use of them. Consequently, there are fewer rejects in production and less waste after use.  Reducing waste and rejects is one of Karl Knauer’s key goals. In its design development, using the minimum size and grammage possible has a maximum impact.

The alternatives to plastic

(Recycled) cardboard

Natural-looking folding box for underwear

Cardboard is one of the most sustainable packaging materials because it is made from the renewable raw material wood. This makes it particularly eco-friendly with respect to extraction and production, as well as use and disposal. No other packaging solution is recycled quite as intensely as cardboard, paperboard or paper packaging. The recycling rate for cardboard, paperboard and paper in Europe is around 81%. Cardboard is also considered to be top of the class when it comes to environmentally friendly packaging solutions, even in the promotional product industry and for shipping packaging. More and more companies are switching to cardboard for office supplies and promotional products. An example of such products is our ‘Powerstikkies® eco’ – adhesive notes on 100% recycled paper!

Grass cardboard

A detailed view of a natural-looking cardboard tray

Did you know that cardboard can be made from grass waste sourced from compensation areas or nature reserves? It is a particularly eco-friendly packaging material and an alternative to plastic. Regional grass cardboard allows you to achieve numerous ecological advantages and enormous saving potentials with respect to energy, CO2 and water consumption.

Learn more

Cardboard from agricultural waste

Tall folding boxes with a perforated pattern

This is a modern source of raw materials: agricultural crop by-products, including the likes of the stems and leaves of crops such as rice, cereals or sugar cane, and the cellulose obtained from them! The stems and leaves that are left behind are used after harvesting has taken place.

The advantages of cardboard from agricultural waste include an improved ecological balance, increased recyclability, use permitted in direct contact with food, the same quality as virgin fibre-based board and CO2-neutral production. An excellent material for exceptionally sustainable packaging.

Naturally beautiful

A variety of gift packaging made of brown cardboard

Natural gift packaging is totally on trend, and naturalness will remain popular in future. Sustainability and authenticity are mega trends that have lost none of their impact. Quite the contrary, in fact. This trend is particularly noticeable in the gift packaging market. The bestsellers are eco-friendly, sustainable packaging made of renewable raw materials, with materials and printing that radiate a special degree of naturalness. The packaging solutions are particularly original, natural and minimalist.


Environmental awareness is a tradition at Karl Knauer

Those who have their roots in the Black Forest are sustainable by their very nature. Being a family-run company, shouldering responsibility for people, the environment and nature has always been a matter especially close to our hearts. The issues of responsibility and sustainability are key components of our corporate strategy. We endeavour to enhance the efficiency of processes in all services related to packaging, promotional products, gift packaging and mechanical engineering, to save and conserve even more resources in the future, and to minimise emissions.


Further information

Sustainability Report 2022
pdf (7 MB) pdf (3 MB)
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