Posted on September 9, 2008 by Dennis Salazar

7 Ways to Reduce Corrugated Box Usage

Label printer applicator applying a label to a...Image via Wikipedia

It may not be possible to completely eliminate corrugated boxes from your packaging, but with a little imagination and design help, you can reduce amount of corrugated you need.

    1. Gap flaps. Regular slotted cartons (RSC) are the most common corrugated box style. RSCs are characterized by outer flaps that meet in the center. Leaving a small gap (1/4″ to 1/2″) between the flaps can add up to significant board reduction, especially for long length boxes.
    2. Corrugated trays. Trays, with a shrink film over wrap, are widely used in the beverage industry, but work beautifully for many other types of products — even ones with a high profile. (We specialize in shrink automation and can help you analyze whether and how trays could work in your operation.)

  1. New design. One reason RSCs are popular is that size for size, they generally are composed of the least amount of corrugated board. In some cases, however, the general rule doesn’t apply. For instance, an extremely long box — such as might be used to package a broom — would use less board if it were made as an end loading carton rather than an RSC.
  2. Change inner packaging. In some cases the corrugated box expands to accommodate the inner packaging used to cushion the product(s). Selecting a more efficient cushioning material often allows for a smaller container.
  3. Use a larger box. Sound counter intuitive? Perhaps, but sometimes, depending on its design, a larger box requires less total board than two, three, or four smaller boxes of equivalent total volume. Converting to a larger container may lead to other efficiencies as well, including faster packaging and easier unpacking by the recipient.
  4. Use Globe Guard boxes. We must plug our Globe Guard corrugated boxes, because they are made from 100% post-consumer waste (PCW) material. If you combine them with one or more of these other suggestions, you’ll make a significant dent in the amount of natural resources being consumed to make boxes.
  5. Plastic totes. Reusable, returnable plastic totes eliminate the need for corrugated boxes altogether. The difficulty is reorganizing logistics to create a loop for return and reuse, but the economics and the environmental benefits make this option worth investigating.