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Thinking Outside the Box

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our world upside down, changing our lives forever. We’ve quarantined to slow down the transfer of the virus, and we’ve relied on online shopping to provide us with groceries and other essential supplies.

The corrugated containerboard boxes in which merchandise arrives are an important part of the story. Strong, lightweight and cost-effective, corrugated material makes these boxes perfect for protecting, storing and transporting goods.

Heidi Brock, president and CEO of the American Forest & Paper Association, the national trade association of the paper and wood products industry, says, “These boxes combine rigidity with cushioning qualities, making them perfect to be used to protect, store and transport a variety of goods, from the items you buy online that arrive on your doorstep to bulk produce delivered to your local grocery and large, fragile items such as televisions and appliances.”

The corrugated board packaging market is expected to reach $339.95 billion by 2025, according to ResearchAndMarkets.com. This suggests that there are more corrugated box deliveries in the future for many of us.

“Boxes are innovative by design,” Brock added. With continued demand for corrugated boxes, the industry has created innovative processes that go into shaping the boxes used for deliveries. For instance, box manufacturers are now able to separate the hard wood and soft wood fibers, and they can puff air to give it more bulk to use less paper per square inch, ultimately delivering a better product.

The best part about the boxes is that they are made from renewable, recyclable material and can be used repeatedly to make new products. Corrugated boxes are the most recycled packaging material in the U.S. Nearly half of the material used nationwide to make new boxes comes from paper recovered for recycling.

Corrugated material can also be recycled to make products used inside and outside the home. Approximately 80% of U.S. paper mills use recovered fiber to make paper-based products. Among other applications, these recycled fibers are used to make recycled paperboard packaging such as shoe boxes and cereal boxes. For old corrugated containers, the industry has met or exceeded a recycling rate of 82% since 2009.

Recycling corrugated boxes is easy. All you need to do is empty, collapse and flatten the boxes. The next time you receive a delivery, keep these tips from the American Forest & Paper Association in mind.

  1. Remove any non-paper box packing materials such as packing peanuts, air pillows or Styrofoam.
  2. You don’t need to worry about removing tape or labels from the packaging. They will be removed in the recycling process.
  3. If your box is dented, bent, ripped or damaged, that’s OK.
  4. To save space, collapse and flatten corrugated boxes before placing them in a recycling bin or cart.
  5. It’s important to keep the boxes clean and dry.
TAGS: Recycling
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