Good practice

Reducing corrugated cardboard weight

Reducing corrugated cardboard weight
Katia, #132700417, 2018, source: Fotolia.com
Resources:
Materials, Waste, Carbon
Sector:
Wholesale and retail
Cost:
Low cost
Payback time:
0 Year(s)
Resource savings: Raw material:
The new boxes require less paper in manufacturing; trials suggest Kite saved 36 tonnes of paper per year by switching to this new design
Resource savings: Waste:
Results from the trial show that Kite can save 36 tonnes of paper-based packaging per year, 25 tonnes of which would have ultimately entered the household waste stream
Payback time:
It is expected that this would offer instant savings
Total cost savings:
The trial suggests that € 194 (£ 170) per tonne of goods packaged and distributed can be saved with this new packaging
Co2 emission reduction:
The trial concluded that a 30 % saving on carbon emissions could be achieved each year
Premises and operation areas:
Production building, Supply operations
Size of company:
Medium (less than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
Intermediate

How to lose weight... in packaging at least

  • The boom in online shopping and delivery has revealed an issue with packaging weight, strength and general suitability
  • Packaging specialists see an opportunity to save costs but also reduce resources and help the environment
  • Strong, single-wall cardboard proves to be a viable alternative  

The boom in internet shopping, especially for household appliances, electronics, books, videos, CDs and computer games, means that more and more products are packaged in corrugated cardboard cartons for delivery to the consumer. 

Packaging distributor Kite Packaging Ltd (Kite) wanted to cut down the amount of space in its warehouses taken up by corrugated cardboard cartons, thereby improving logistical efficiencies, saving money and reducing the amount of card that goes into household waste streams. 

Data on household waste from councils around the UK reveal that, in most areas, between 12 % and 33 % of domestic waste consists of paper and corrugated cardboard. This translates into about 5 million tonnes of paper or card going to landfill or recycling every year. 

Replacing double-wall flute cardboard boxes with single-wall versions reduces the width of the card from 7 mm to 4 mm, leading to huge savings in paper usage, box weight, transportation costs and carbon usage. 

Numerous compression tests have been conducted by organisations including The Packaging Industry Research Association (PIRA), to ensure that the new 'thinner' boxes are as strong as the old ones. 

Key results

  • Conducting a trial of the new single-wall flute cardboard boxes with packaging distributor Kite and project partner Toys 'R' Us, WRAP was able to highlight the economic and environmental savings presented by switching to this new form of packaging. 
  • Results from the trial show that Kite can save 36 tonnes of paper-based packaging per year, 25 tonnes of which would have ultimately entered the household waste stream. 
  • In terms of cost savings, the reduced need for storage and pallets along with lower transportation costs saw savings of € 194 (£ 170) per tonne of goods packaged and distributed in the new material.
  • Whilst looking at carbon savings, ARUP concluded that a 30 % saving on carbon emissions could be saved each year. 

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