Adressing common misconceptions between paper and plastic packaging

As COVID runs it course on a global scale, we are seeing more and more claims that a virus stays alive longer on paper than on plastic packaging.  

And while we’re impartial to the paper vs plastic argument as we work with both at LPF, we are not impartial to misconceptions and urban myths. Which is why we’re tackling this supposed mismatch in virus resistance with today’s blog!

Misconceptions

As time passes we have seen more and more speculation on the survival of the COVID virus on different surfaces. Infact, we even  referenced this faulty stat ourselves in a blog not too long ago.

The common conception seems to be that paper packaging is less friendly to an infective virus like COVID19 than plastic packaging, which would explain the infographics lined all over the internet that ran away with this conception.

Yet as we thought about it more, from both our own experience and through talking with our sister companies, we believe there is a misconception of plastic packaging in relation to COVID19. This is why we’re skeptical of cardboard and paper packaging’s supposed ‘lesser likelihood’ of spreading a virus.

What the science says

Research from the US-based New England Journal of Medicine has done their own research on this matter. They proved that Covid-19 can survive on cardboard surfaces for up to a full day, with variables such as heat and humidity affecting the ‘up to’ part.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the US-based CDC (Centers for Disease & Control) have also stated that products or packaging that have been shipped over several days or weeks only present a low spreading risk. 

So where does the misconception come from? It’s simple: a large majority of cardboard packaging is lined with ink and plastic to give it a smooth structure. While this is great under normal circumstances, it also means it gives these alternatives a similar structure for the virus. Yet because cardboard remains more fragile to fluids it lacks plastic’s ability to be effectively disinfected.

Our interpretation

So how does the science factor in to our own experiences? We’re here to tell you:

“Because of the plastic liners used in cardboard packaging, we are pretty convinced a virus particle will survive on this cardboard for just as long as it would on plastic. In either case you’re talking about an length of 2/3 days.

 

And because plastic packaging can be disinfected without damaging the packaging or products, we’re actually pretty confident it’s the superior alternative when it comes to particle elimination”.


– Brian Punselie, Marketing Manager

So in other words, we’re not buying the supposed paper/ cardboard hype when it comes to virus prevention. That doesn’t mean it’s not a great packaging solution, but it certainly won’t keep a virus at bay!

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