The Life Cycle of a Corrugated Box, From Manufacturing to Recycling

When we hear about the corrugated box, the first image that comes to mind is a triple-layered paper stock that is combined together with glue. It features two flat surfaces, known as liners, on the outside and a layer of wavey or grooved cardboard sandwiched between them. The wavey layer of cardboard is known as fluted cardboard, and its purpose is to provide strength and durability to the box.

Corrugated boxes are used extensively in the e-commerce and wholesale industry. Its various properties make it ideal for shipping and delivering products safely and securely from one place to another. The design and manufacturing of these boxes are aimed towards offering better protection to keep the contents inside unharmed.

You would be surprised to know that 95% of all products in the United States use corrugated boxes to ensure the safe delivery of their products. Corrugated boxes are also recyclable, lightweight, and cost-effective which makes them a perfect choice for businesses around the world.

Now that you have heard such good things about corrugated boxes, let’s learn their manufacturing process to have a peek into their origin.

Step 1: Collecting and Gathering the Materials

Corrugated boxes are commonly made of recycled content which is often acquired from old paper stock and cardboard. As compared to the new cardboard, old cardboard requires 75% less energy. Every time recycled cardboard is used, the fibers inside lose their strength and begin to weaken and due to this very reason, cardboard boxes can only be used about eight times.

The initial process of manufacturing cardboard boxes begins from obtaining virgin pulp from newly harvested trees. Pine trees are harvested to make primary raw material for corrugated cardboard. After the trees are cut, their limbs are separated and their trunks are shipped to a mill.

Step 2: The Pulping Process

In this step, the kraft process is followed and the wood is turned into paper. This process begins from tree trunks turning into wood chips and then it is treated with chemicals and turned into a pulp. This pulp is then converted into heavy rolls of brown craft paper, by forming, pressing, firing, and rolling.

Step 3: Manufacturing and Fluting

The wavy paper stock in the middle is an important layer in corrugated boxes that helps you ensure the strength of the corrugated box. This layer is created by feeding the rolls of kraft paper into a corrugated roller machine. After the paper comes back from the other side, it is combined with glue on both sides and added with liners. After cardboard is produced, it is now cut and folded into desired shape and size and sent for distribution.

Step 4: Usage

After the distribution, corrugated boxes are used by various industries to keep or ship their products. They make an ideal choice for shipping a variety of products.

Step 5: Recycling

After being used, corrugated boxes are recycled and sent back to the paper mill and the whole process takes place again.

Atlantic Packaging. is a Toronto-based manufacturer of corrugated boxes and packaging. With 70 years of experience in the industry, they are committed to provide high quality corrugated boxes. Whether you need a single box for one of your products or a customized solution to meet all your requirements, they can help. The company specializes in corrugated and flexible packaging.

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