Lead Forensics

Reusable boxes could replace cardboard ones

Most goods are packed for delivery in cardboard boxes that are not used again after being received, but American packing manufacture Menasha has developed a range of reusable boxes that are designed to be used up to 100 times.

Although cardboard boxes can be used more than once, they soon deteriorate. Cardboard can be recycled, but it is more efficient to reuse boxes.

In a typical warehouse, workers pick items from shelves and take them to packing tables. Picking trolleys often have plastic tote boxes to hold items, which are then put in cardboard boxes for dispatch.

The main weakness of cardboard is that it is not waterproof, so does not protect goods on wet British days. Many businesses are installing automated equipment to handle packages. Cardboard fibre generates dust and this can clog up sensitive machinery.

To solve the drawbacks of cardboard boxes, Menasha has developed plastic or plastic dispatch boxes that can be used between 70 and 100 times. At the end of their life, they can be recycled. The company say that they are ideal for automated packaging lines, and reduce the environmental impact associated with using cardboard boxes. Menasha claims that its boxes reduce water consumption by 89%, energy consumption by 74%, and save 61% in solid waste generation.

It may be difficult to introduce a packaging reuse system in the UK, as it would mean people who receive orders need to return the boxes, but any focus on reusability can help businesses reduce their carbon footprint and often save money at the same time.

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