Cardboard boxes are primarily used for packing goods or materials. Cardboard referes to various types of paper material which is heavier than paper. To be termed as cardboard, the stiff paper has to be more than 0.006 inch thick. It can be known as paperboard or corrugated fiberboard which are manufactured in the form of flat pieces and then folded to form boxes. Flat sheets are used for sandwiching a central fluting or filling made of corrugated short fiber paper.
The central layer is first heated with steam and is passed through corrugated rolls which form the ridges and valleys. A liner sheet is pressed on both sides, before the adhesive dries up and this produces a roll of paperboard or cardboard. Converting machines are used for cutting the rolls of cardboard.
Why Cardboard is used for Boxes
Corrugated cardboard is the ideal material used for boxes in packaging, protection and the transport of many types of products. The main reason for this is that it provides good insulation to the material stored inside. Secondly, it is also very strong, as fluted layers of paper are sandwiched between puncture-resistant layers of heavy paper. The fluting makes the cardboard box sturdier and also acts as a cushioning when it is crushed. The alignment of the flutes is also appropriate, and this vertical alignment gives added strength to the cardboard box.
It is used for industrial packaging and also most of the cereal purchase you make at the supermarket imports in a cardboard box. As it is lightweight, people use cardboard boxes while shifting and transferring their goods or moving house, or also for just storing goods, as all sizes are available for storing domestic goods. It can hold a lot of weight and also offers good protection to fragile items. Additionally, it is also very cheap. Many businesses also use these boxes for stowing away their back-up files and other paperwork.
Not all cardboard boxes are strong and the type of flute or correlation that is sandwiched between the outer layers should be considered. When the flute is larger, the boxes are stronger. Such strong boxes are used as shipping boxes and for holding materials such as glass, furniture and heavy food materials. When the thickness of the flute is less, it can be used for stand-up displays or for ballot boxes. There are someaker boxes which are very lightweight and can be used for software packaging or as a point of purchase container.
From the environment point of view, cardboard boxes should be preferred to plastic boxes, as the former are recyclable. However, plastic containers are also preferred by many as they can be used several times and maintain their stylish look. Moreover, there is a lot of work involved in making cardboard boxes, right from crushing a tree for wood fibers and the industry that uses a lot of energy. Plastic boxes are lighter and more durable and the manufacture is not energy intensive in comparison.
Shipping containers that need to transport heavy materials can not use cardboard boxes, and have to make use of wooden or steel containers, especially when the goods require unbreakable sealing or for the transportation of liquid and semi-liquid material. Plastic and steel are waterproof and provide protection in negative climate. When compared to cardboard boxes, metal containers are safer as you can lock them and prevent burglary.
Cardboard Box Types
In corrugated boxes, the bottom lining and the outer and inner portion forming the corrugated board are glued on the outer portion of the peaks and valleys portion of each flute, with the help of starch adhesives. This can be used for packaging of heavier items, such as refrigerators and treadmills. On the other hand, flat cardboard or solid cardboard is thin and has a smooth coating on one side. It can be used for packaging lighter items, such as cosmetics, computer software, video games and so on. It is processed with paper and is a slim form. This is more acceptable in paper recycling plants.
The corrugated cardboard needs to be flattened and unfolded and only then sent for recycling. It occupations a lot of space when stored and by flattening it, the volume becomes less. The flat cardboard that is wax coated is non-recyclable but it can be used as milk cartons as the wax prevents leakage.
Storage and Use Recommendations
When unused, cardboard boxes occupy a lot of space. Here, it is advised to dismountle them and store them flat. You can then tie them in bundles, if so, should be stored in a garage or in the attic, where there is no moisture. Since they are essentially made of paper, moisture can damage the boxes. You can store the boxes by sliding them flat on the floor or a shelf.
In spite of a wide variety of uses and being the most inexpensive way of organizing, storing and transporting goods, it is not advisable to use cardboard boxes for outdoor use, as they can not withstanding harsh weather conditions.