Re-using cardboard boxes
Re-using cardboard boxes saves over 700kg of cardboard a year
In “normal” times (pre COVID 19) we use about 60 cardboard boxes of various sizes each week to pack up and send out our orders.
We estimate that we re-use about 20 boxes a week. These are cardboard boxes that our supplies arrive in. The average weight of these re-used cardboard boxes is around 700g.
That’s 14kg of cardboard a week – which equates to around 728kg of cardboard a year!
If you combine that with the cardboard that we’ve avoided using because of our shift to buying Canola Oil in bulk (see separate article) then we’re saving almost a tonne of cardboard. We end up recycling very little cardboard – only those boxes that are too damaged to re-use.
So – what are the environmental benefits from not using that tonne of cardboard?
Google isn’t the most reliable source of information on this unfortunately. We can say with confidence that we’re saving the following:
Trees – one popular and oft repeated statistic is that it takes 17 trees to make a tonne of paper. Presumably that’s not too different for a tonne of cardboard. Obviously this number will be reduced by the percentage of recycled pulp being used.
Energy – used in the various processes to turn either wood or recycled cardboard into the materials used in the process and then into the finished product
Transport – from harvesting the trees to delivering the finished cardboard to our warehouse and all the stops in between
Chemicals – there are lots of these being used throughout the process to make cardboard, and it’s fair to assume that a lot of them are not that good for the environment
The following diagram illustrates all those various steps – albeit in a nice friendly design. The reality of cardboard box manufacturing is most definitely not so pretty.