The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
How Long Does a Cardboard Box Last?
Cardboard boxes are among the most popular packaging materials. From shoes to industry tools, there are numerous products that are packed and shipped in cardboard boxes. If you purchase something on any ecommerce store, it’s very likely that the item would reach your destination in a cardboard box. According to a recent research, 90% of the products in US are shipped in the cardboard boxes.
Now this is something big because cardboard boxes are made of trees. Thankfully, these boxes are recyclable and can be reused in many ways also. Let’s take a look at the life of cardboard boxes, right from the creation.
As we said earlier, cardboard boxes are made of trees so they’re the best place to begin. They’re cut down and sent to the paper mill where a machine and compounds are used to reduce them to a pulp. This is how paperboard and corrugated cardboard are produced. Pulp of softwood is used to create the outer layer of cardboard box. They’re flat and smooth. The inner layer, which is called the fluting, is made using the corrugated machine.
After the base materials are created, it’s time to set the box together. The different materials are glued together after pressing to create a box. The smooth and flat layer, also known as outer layer, is on both sides while the fluting (inner layer) is in the middle. After that procedure, the flaps and the hand holes are trimmed. You can buy these boxes in different sizes as per the requirements.
After the design is finalized, these boxes are packed and shipped to customers. These include online retailers, moving companies, traditional retailers, etc.
Boxes are sent for recycling after they are used. Your local recycling center would take roughly all kinds of cardboard boxes. The procedure is very straightforward:
- All the supplies that need to be recycled are collected.
- At the recycling point, the cardboard is broken down and the ridged board is separated from the boxboard.
- The materials are then soaked in a mix until the fibers break down and create a pulp.
- Any foreign contaminants or dies are removed.
- The residual pulp is then mixed in with the recently made virgin pulp and used to create solid sheets.
It’s always advisable to reuse prior to recycling. You can do it in many ways like using boxes for storing old accessories, for arts and craft, in your garden, etc. You’ll help the environment if you reuse and reprocess your cardboard boxes.
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LIFE OF A CARDBOARD BOX
Did you know that cardboard is used to ship 90% of all products? And that percentage only seems to be growing. Boxes are the lifeblood of the packaging and shipping industry, and it is important to stay educated on how the material is constructed and why it should be reused or recycled to protect our environment. Detailed below is the life of a cardboard box, all the way from the forest > to a box > through the recycling process.
FIRST, TREES ARE CUT DOWN AND PAPER IS MADE.
- Trees are transported to a paper mill.
- Mechanical and chemical pulping methods are used to create paperboard and corrugated cardboard.
- The outer layers of the box are typically made from softwood pulp.
- The fluting, the wavy layer on the inside of the cardboard, is manufactured using a corrugated machine.
SECOND, A BOX IS DESIGNED.
- The different layers of board are pressed and glued together to create the cardboard box.
- Hand holes and flaps are trimmed and glued on the boxes.
- A variety of box sizes and styles are produced to fit the consumer’s needs.
- The cardboard boxes are ready to be sold.
LAST, THE BOXES ARE RECYCLED.
After the cardboard is used, it should be recycled. The process is simple and included these 5 steps:
- The company or consumer gathers the materials that need to be recycled.
- Cardboard is sorted by boxboard and corrugated once the materials arrive at the recycling centre.
- The materials are soaked in a mixture that breaks down the fibers and creates a pulp.
- The pulp is filtered and stripped in order to get rid of any foreign materials and dyes.
- Pulp is mixed with virgin materials, then dried and formed into solid sheets.
Local recycling centres will accept the most common types of cardboard, including those used for shipping, and they may even offer curbside pickup. You can also drop the cardboard off at recycling centres.
A FEW WAYS CARDBOARD CAN BE REUSED
Cardboard can be used to craft anything from gift boxes, homemade post cards, napkin rings, stylish storage, cat toys, coasters, party decor, or even wall art. Here’s a craft idea that will make any child’s dream come true – construct a life-size fort out of cardboard boxes.
Boxes are designed for storage or secure transportation from one place to another. Why not reuse boxes for storage in your home? Smaller boxes can be used to organize things like office materials, snacks in the pantry, books, or toys with multiple pieces. Larger boxes are great for long-term storage and organization int eh garage, basement, or other cluttered areas in your home.
USE IT AS A GARDENING TOOL
Cardboard is also a very useful tool in the garden. When it is mulched, it can be used to bulk and ingurgitate excess water in soil, or otherwise known as composting. Cardboard is also capable of creating a barrier against weeds. Lay a few pieces in problem areas and the weeds won’t be able to grow through the material.
When cardboard is broken down in a landfill instead of being recycled, it creates methane, a major greenhouse gas that impacts global warming negatively. This is why it is critical that we continue to reuse and recycle cardboard in smart and environmental ways.