Are Corrugated Cardboard Boxes Recyclable?

Are Corrugated Cardboard Boxes Recyclable?
How Boxed-Up Packaging is helping to save the planet, one box at a time!

The demand for corrugated cardboard packaging has started to exceed the supply as it grows in popularity. E-commerce and online businesses are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and packaging is one place to start.

According to a white paper created by Defra*, just over 64% of corrugated packaging is recycled in the UK and the plan is to increase this to 70% by 2030. Due to its recyclable qualities it is a stable packing favourite, especially within the e-commerce and online sector.

To do our bit for the economy, Boxed-Up have changed their flute from B to Z flute, but exactly what is Z flute? how does this help the environment? and why should you care? To understand why we have made this change, we need to understand exactly how cardboard boxes are made.  

Corrugated Cardboard is manufactured from three components, which include one ‘fluted’ or ‘squiggly’ middle section and two outer liners of paper or card, which are then glued to the flute to add stability to the board and to create a robust structure. The liner paper is made from either Kraft or Test paper.

Kraft or Test Paper - Kraft is a popular choice when making boxes and has a smoother surface, making it an ideal choice to print on. Test is a recycled paper, its not as nice looking as Kraft and is often used for the inside of the boxes.

There are other types of paper such as Clay Coated and Bleached but these are more speciality papers and are not widely used in the e-commerce sector.

Paper Weight - The weight of the paper is measured in grams per square meter or GSM. Common weights that boxed-up use is 125 gsm, 150 gsm and 200 gsm.

Corrugated Board - Various types of cardboard can be created using different flute sizes, which include double wall, single wall and tri-wall. Single wall consists of two pieces of paper with one middle flute section, double wall features an additional liner and fluting, whereas tri-wall adds another layer of fluting and extra lining.

Flute can vary in width and size and the arch shape of the fluting allows air to circulate which acts as an insulator, providing additional protection against temperature variation. It is the flute that can affect the performance of your boxes.

  • E Flute is used on our die-cut pip boxes, such as our C4 and C5 and for smaller cartons such as our sub boxes. This type of flute is ideal for printing on due to its high-quality surface, has excellent compression strength and a great resistance to crushing.
  • B Flute is an ideal flute for transit packaging. It is thicker and weighs heavier. This is the flute that Boxed-Up used to manufacture and is a good all-rounder.
  • BC Flute - B Flute is married with C Flute which gives a higher level of protection for your products. Boxed-Up uses this fluting profile on all our double wall boxes including our house moving boxes.
  • Z Flute – Also known as M, S or R Flute®. It is ideal for printing on due to its high-quality surface. It’s a much smaller and compact fluting, whilst still optimising board strength. It’s perfect for e-commerce, online sellers and offers necessary protection for your products.

Benefits The benefits of Z-flute are as follows;

  • Bigger savings for customers
  • Neater looking boxes
  • 20% increased storage & delivery 
  • More on a pallet**
  • 100% recyclable
  • Higher resistance to crushing than B-flute
  • Able to withstand the rigours of shipping
  • Perfect for the e-commerce sector
  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • Improved performance
  • No compromise to the integrity of the box
  • Ideal for FMCG

Whilst there is a lot more to making cardboard boxes, this should help you to have a better understanding of what goes into making your cardboard boxes and can help you make an informed decision on the material that you should use for your business.

Boxed-Up are always striving towards bringing our customers sustainable packaging, with this in mind, we have now changed our B flute single wall boxes into Z-flute. Our Z-flute is Eco-friendly and helps businesses to reduce costs, due to machine efficiencies and courier savings.

*Defra Whitepaper

**DS Smith - Benefits of R Flute®