What types of boxes are we talking about?
Strong Paper Fibres Several layers of paper fibre give the corrugated box that strength: a top and bottom layer (called linerboard) and a middle layer (called corrugating medium). The wavy, ripple-like shape of the medium in the middle gives the box its strength. Think of the Roman arch, or a corrugated tin roof. A corrugated box always has this ripple layer (or fluting) in the middle. That’s why it is called corrugated.
The many uses of corrugated boxes
Corrugated board can be used for more than just boxes. It can also be used to make bulk bins, point-of-purchase displays, partitions, furniture, pallets, even temporary housing when earthquakes strike. (What do a cathedral, furniture, and a bicycle have in common?)
Here is a very touching article and video about using corrugated as furniture in India.
What are corrugated boxes made from?
Most corrugated boxes manufactured in Canada are 100% recycled content, made from old boxes collected from supermarkets and factories or from curbside. Four mills use a blend of recycled fibre (old boxes) with wood chips and sawmill residues that are left over from lumber operations. Overall, the average recycled content for domestic shipments is 83 per cent. The industry is thus highly dependent on securing used boxes for further recycling back into new boxes, whether they come from factories or from homes. This is one reason why PPEC is urging Canadian provinces to ban the dumping of old corrugated boxes in landfills.
How are they made?
Where are they made?
A packaging mill produces containerboard which can be either linerboard (the top and bottom layers) or corrugating medium (the wavy, ripple-like middle layer, also called fluting). Either board is then shipped to a corrugated converter who uses a piece of machinery called a corrugator to blend the medium and the linerboard together. Once blended, the combined sheet can be printed, slotted, creased, folded and glued then filled with product. Voilà, you have a corrugated box! A corrugated box that is re-used is called a corrugated retripper. A corrugated box that is sent for recycling after use is called an Old Corrugated Container (OCC). While cardboard is a term commonly used, technically cardboard doesn’t exist! See blog, What do you mean cardboard doesn’t exist!.
By the Numbers
- 1,027 Average number of new seedlings planted per minute in Canada
- 100 Recycled content percentage of most corrugated boxes made in Canada
- 0.2 Percentage of forest land harvested in Canada.
- 96 Percentage of Canadians who have access to the recycling of old corrugated boxes
- 98 Percentage of old corrugated boxes recycled by Ontario’s Blue Box program (2016)