PPC Announces Winners of the 2023 North American Paperboard Packaging Competition

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Oct. 26, 2023 - The Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC) has announced the top winners of its 80th annual North American Paperboard Packaging Competition

These folding cartons and rigid boxes represent some of the best paperboard packaging manufactured by North American converters over the past year.

Paperboard Package of the YearWhistlePig PiggybankSubmitted by WestRock

We all have fond childhood memories of saving up change to spend on candy at the corner store. With the WhistlePig Piggybank folding carton, WestRock has taken this nostalgic trope and instead put the treat inside of the package – and this time, it’s something for the adults. The bespoke packaging, comprised of a removable lid and secure base, holds the unique pig-shaped glass bottle while a sleek black sleeve with precisely cut windows accentuates the bottle's graphic design. Foil stamping adds a touch of luxury to make the carton stand out even more on the shelf. During the converting process, careful attention was paid to aligning die-cuts, graphics, and foil stamping. Approximately 8,000 of these premium packages were produced, making this limited run a true collector’s luxury item.

Folding Carton of the YearWander & Ivy Single Varietal Sets
Submitted by the Mill Rock Packaging

Mill Rock Packaging successfully fulfilled their customer's goal of elegance, simplicity, and efficiency with the Wander & Ivy Single Varietal Sets. The attractive, modern package is composed of .024 SBS paperboard from Clearwater and is designed to securely hold four glass bottles while presenting a premium image. The converting process focused on creating lateral strength and employed a soft-touch coating for a premium touch. The packaging delivers an intuitive shopping experience and giftable product selection and the unique box structure features inner partitions that lock together, ensuring bottle protection and box stability. It assembles easily and includes top layers for added branding and messaging. Importantly, the carton's corner windows allow the Wander & Ivy wine to be visible from any angle on the shelf.

Rigid Box of the YearHardins Creek Clermont Tube
Submitted by TPC Printing and Packaging

TPC Printing and Packaging was tasked with finding a sustainable and economical replacement for the previous Hardins Creek tin tube packaging. TPC Packaging's Hardins Creek Clermont Tube offers a sustainable, cost-effective, and visually striking solution. Their proprietary tube rolling process eliminates the need for other materials beyond the lid, aligning perfectly with the customer's goals. To replicate the look of metal, the rigid tube was printed on 20pt MPE metalized poly board, achieving an eye-catching appearance. The team's expertise in ink matching to foil, combined with precise coatings, transformed paperboard into a unique alternative to metal containers. This rigid box is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional tin packaging that keeps the exact look and aesthetic of a metal package.

Innovation of the Year AwardEnduraGrip™Submitted by WestRock

WestRock's innovative EnduraGrip™, a fiber-based plastic replacement, not only prioritizes sustainability and strength but also presents a breakthrough solution for packaging. Costco sought an eco-friendly alternative to plastic clips and shrink film, and EnduraGrip™ delivered, effectively replacing single-use plastics in multi-packs with its surprisingly robust design. Crafted from WestRock's CustomKote® board, it offers strength for heavy containers while remaining plastic-free and recyclable, reducing manufacturing costs with its pre-glued, easy-to-use application. Rapid integration into Costco's processes maintains consumer comfort while curbing plastic waste, and its full printability enhances brand customization and the overall consumer experience. With the potential to eliminate 145 tons of plastic waste annually in products like Kirkland Cooking Oil, EnduraGrip™ exemplifies fiber-based packaging's power to replace single-use plastics, providing a sustainable and cost-efficient solution.

Richard DePaul Award for Creative Design & Converting

Single-Dose Syringe Folding Carton
Submitted by Colbert Packaging Corp

Colbert Packaging Corporation's Single-Dose Syringe Folding Carton sets a high standard for functionality and sustainability in pharmaceutical packaging, an area where precision and information are of utmost importance. The customer's aim was to create a more patient-friendly and sustainable packaging solution. Collaborating closely with the customer product team, Colbert Packaging created a multi-layered, fully recyclable solution. Crafted from 18pt Candesce SBS by Clearwater Paper, it offers a smooth, bright surface for crucial pharmaceutical content and graphics, ensuring consistent ink absorption. The robust paperboard safeguards product integrity while adhering to branding standards. Emphasizing user-friendliness and tamper-evident packaging, it protects syringes from damage and light exposure. A custom foam pad further ensures carton integrity during transportation. Colbert Packaging's solution exemplifies how thoughtful design and material choices align seamlessly with functionality and sustainability in the pharmaceutical industry.

Sustainability of the Year AwardUnilver Skip Laundry Detergent CapsulesSubmitted by Graphic Packaging International

Graphic Packaging International's Unilever Skip Laundry Detergent Capsule container is a prime example of sustainable packaging innovation. Crafted from 100% recyclable materials, the cartons feature GT4 ESK Fully Sized FSC from Smurfit Kappa for the lid and KR CrownBoard Craft 460g FSC from Billerud Korsnas for the base. Unilever's Life Cycle Assessment shows a minimum 20% lower carbon footprint compared to previous plastic packaging, aligning with Unilever's sustainability goals and preventing over 6,000 tons of plastic waste annually. The design showcases a user-friendly opening mechanism that walks the line of intuitive for adults yet childproof. Preventing accidental access was a priority and took innovative design to make happen with 100% recyclable materials. GPI’s solution combines functionality, sustainability, and brand excellence, setting a new standard for detergent packaging.

Judges’ Award
Tome Gift Set
Submitted by Pacific Southwest Container

Pacific Southwest Container's Tome Gift Set for Soap Cauldron is an example of packaging creativity that transforms a product into a full experience for the consumer. Soap Cauldron's founder sought a captivating package that would enchant customers, and PSC rose to the challenge by creating a realistic book cover crafted from SFL E flute and 10pt SBS-23M-35L from PSC. This three-piece package resembles a spell book with a curved spine and a tongue lock as a “locket.” Cold foil and matte varnish were added to bring the graphics to life. Meticulous attention was paid to the converting process, ensuring seamless package insertion into the book cover. The project's interchangeable outer covers add seasonal flexibility. This collaboration between structural and graphic designers resulted in a visually stunning package that exceeded customer expectations.

Visit PPC’s website to see all the winning entries and learn more about the North American Paperboard Packaging Competition.


For over 90 years, PPC has served as the premier North American association for converters of paperboard packaging and their suppliers. PPC works to grow, promote, and protect the paperboard packaging industry while providing its members with resources and tools to compete successfully in the marketplace. For more information, visit www.paperbox.org.

Source: Paperboard Packaging Council