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Small Package Shipping: Facts about Cardboard Boxes

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If you use small package shipping services frequently, you come into contact with cardboard boxes on a regular basis. Most times, you probably don’t give the box you use a second thought, but cardboard boxes really do have some interesting origins. And there are probably a lot of little fun facts about cardboard boxes that you weren’t aware of.

Consider this: Corrugated cardboard is actually made from three separate layers of kraft paper. Paper mills send out loads of kraft paper, and this paper is then used at the corrugating plant to create the middle layer of the cardboard. Top and bottom layers are glued to the kraft paper, cut, and folded up to create the cardboard boxes so often used for small package shipping.

Did you know corrugated cardboard is used in shipping about 90 percent of all products in America? Cardboard’s first patent came in 1856, and it’s been used for shipping since 1903. That’s more than 100 years of usage for small package shipping. Just imagine how many boxes have been used during this time period.

One of the key advantages of cardboard is that it’s very cheap to produce. When you compare cardboard boxes to plastic shipping containers, it’s clear that cardboard is the most cost effective option for small package shipping. In fact, the cost of cardboard is only about 1 percent of the value of the goods inside cardboard boxes during small package shipping.

Cardboard is also very safe because it has no toxic constituents and is biodegradable. You can safely dispose of and recycle the cardboard. Recycled cardboard uses just 75 percent of the energy needed to produce new cardboard as it has lower emissions of sulfur dioxide during production. Most corrugated cardboard boxes we use today for small package shipping are made of old, recycled cardboard. Recycled cardboard is just as strong as new cardboard, so it really is best to use whenever possible.

Choosing a Cardboard Box for Small Package Shipping

Now that you know a little bit more about cardboard, here are some tips you should follow when choosing a box for small package shipping.

• Make sure the box is a few inches bigger than the contents being shipped—The size of the box is very important. Obviously the box needs to be big enough to fit the items you’re shipping, but it needs to be even bigger. Why? So you can pad the contents with strong packaging materials like packing peanuts, paper, Styrofoam, bubble wrap, etc.

• Use newly recycled boxes, not old, worn out boxes—Reusing boxes is definitely a good thing, but you have to be careful when doing so. Be careful not to reuse boxes that are damaged, bent up, or torn.

• Don’t forget the packaging materials—Even the best cardboard box won’t protect your shipment on its own. You need to use strong packaging materials, like bubble wrap and packing peanuts, to give your small package the highest level of protection.

Choose a good box for small package shipping success!

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