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Mythology becomes reality as packaging weighs heavy on the global news agenda

Atlas Cardboard Statue

Sustainable packaging campaign Beyond the Box has created a corrugated cardboard sculpture depicting Ancient Greek figure, Atlas, and his fabled globe, to mark Global Recycling Day 2019 (Monday 18th March).

Crafted from 420 layers of double flute corrugated cardboard, the impressive seven-foot, 80kg sculpture took 175 pain-staking hours to create. It was unveiled in central London on Monday 18th of March – Global Recycling Day, to the surprise of passing commuters.

A well-known symbol of Greek mythology, Atlas was responsible for bearing the weight of the world on his shoulders. The new cardboard creation was revealed as a stark reminder that this responsibility now rests with us all.

The imposing cardboard figure was unveiled as research shows two in three Britons feel ‘worried’ about packaging, and 2.7 million people admit packaging is the ‘biggest concern’ in their lives.

Beyond the Box spokesperson Andy Barnetson explains: “With the constant stream of news stories and shocking images fuelling public concern about the environmental impact of packaging, it’s no wonder many Britons feel as though the weight of the world is on their shoulders. But it’s important to remember that not all packaging is created equal.

“We decided to create this impressive tribute to Atlas to demonstrate the weighty responsibility we all bear when it comes to making simple, sustainable choices, whether that’s prioritising recycling, or choosing sustainable packaging solutions like cardboard.”

The unveiling of this striking sculpture coincides with new data which shows production of cardboard rose throughout 2018 as shoppers demanded sustainable packaging solutions in supermarkets, on the high street and when buying online.

During 2018, an additional 83 million square-metres of cardboard was produced, compared with 2017. This equates to 29,000 Premiership football pitches-worth of extra cardboard.

Barnetson adds: “The growing focus on sustainable packaging solutions means demand for cardboard is building. During 2018, Britain produced enough additional cardboard to cover the area of 29,000 football pitches – that’s 560 pitches for every week of the year – and the best thing about this is that it’s all recyclable.

“It’s great to see that supermarkets, shops on the high street and online retailers are all responding to public demand for sustainable packaging options. Corrugated cardboard fits the bill because it’s recyclable, renewable and re-usable.

“With a recycling rate of over 80%, cardboard has the best UK recycling record of any packaging material. In fact, through recycling, valuable paper fibres are reused again and again – between 7 and 9 times.

“So, while it might feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders, Global Recycling Day is a great reminder that we need to work together and encourage one another to make sustainable choices. On this year’s Global Recycling Day we’re calling on the British public to give some extra thought to reducing their household waste – and make recycling a priority.”

Photo credit: John Nguyen/PA Wire

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