A shortage of corrugate boxes has continued to be linked to the COVID-19 domino effect.  A January 2021 article in Packaging World explains how consumers’ concerns with visiting physical store locations has significantly increased e-commerce. From March 2019 to March 2020 the use of corrugated shipping boxes was up 9% according to the Fibre Box Association. As demand for corrugate increased, four major factors have reduced corrugate supply in the recycling industry. The combination of these is expected to result in a price hike for corrugate in the first half of 2021.

The Solid Waste Association of North America had written a letter to the EPA outlining these factors and how they planned on to overcome the challenges. As one can imagine, much of the plan is how to promote, encourage and grow recycling programs and the industry’s manufacturing capacity.

The first of the 3 R’s in waste management and most underemphasized is Re-Use. Re-Using cardboard boxes when possible, reduces corrugate box demand and, thus, this relatively hidden supply chain cost.

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Reuse of boxes is not possible universally. Where it can be utilized it provides remarkable cost reductions. It works extremely well in closed circuits. Examples include:

  • Boxes going from Point A to Point B within the same facility or between multiple sites as an element of Work In Progress (WIP) manufacturing.
  • Where regular interval shipments occur between manufacturers and the fulfillment centers that provide pick and pack inventory management for their shipping operations and
  • Between distribution centers and retail stores for companies such as Target, Walgreens, and Walmart.

Corrugate box re-use coupled with closing them without the damage and expense of tape eliminates the cost of purchasing new boxes. These annual savings can be from thousands to millions of dollars for large companies. Box reuse needs to be considered the least expensive and most environmentally beneficial way to reduce this supply chain expense.


Click here to find out how Box Latch™ products can help your company avoid a box shortage by re-using your boxes 10 to 20 or more times.