Cardboard is a ubiquitous material that plays an integral role in our daily lives. It’s a versatile substance used for a wide array of purposes, from packaging and shipping to crafting and structural support.
Recognized for its lightweight yet sturdy nature, cardboard is composed of layers of paperboard, making it an eco-friendly option compared to many alternatives.
What is cardboard made of?
Cardboard is a type of material used to make boxes and packaging for many things we buy. It is made from paper pulp, which is created by breaking down fibers found in trees and plants.
Corrugated cardboard is made by adding flutes between two layers of paperboard, also known as corrugation. Also, it can be made in different thicknesses, colors, and textures to fit different packaging requirements (Printing, Dies, Coating, etc.)
Types of corrugated cardboard are shown in the image:
How cardboard is made?
The following steps will guide you through the process of making cardboard:
1 – Pulping
Creating wood pulp from trees is the first step in making cardboard. To remove impurities and break down the fibers, the chopped wood is mixed with water and chemicals.
2 – Cleaning
After screening and cleaning, the pulp is prepared for the next process by removing any leftover impurities.
3 – Bleaching
To achieve a uniform white color, the pulp may be bleached to remove any remaining color.
4 – Forming
By using a machine called a Fourdrinier machine, the pulp is formed into flat sheets. Using a flat surface, the pulp is poured onto the surface, then drained out, forming a layer of pulp.
5 – Pressing
A smoother surface is then created by pressing the pulp sheets between large rollers.
6 – Corrugation
Flat sheets of cardboard are then fed into a corrugator machine so they can become sturdy and durable. To make corrugated cardboard, flutes are added between two sheets through a process known as corrugation. Corrugated boxes are mostly used for shipping goods safely without any damage.
7 – Cutting and shaping
Various products can be created from cardboard sheets, such as boxes, containers, or other items.
Is Cardboard Sustainable Packaging Material?
Depending on how cardboard is produced, used, and disposed of, it can be considered a sustainable material. The first benefit of cardboard is that it is made from a renewable resource – wood pulp from trees.
This resource can be managed and harvested sustainably. In addition, cardboard is biodegradable and recyclable, unlike other packaging materials like plastic.
Hence, if properly disposed of, cardboard can break down naturally in the environment or be recycled into new products.
Why to Use Cardboard?
The majority of industries around the world are seeking eco-friendly packaging that protects the environment. Here are a few reasons why cardboard is a good choice:
1 – Recyclable
Cardboard material can be reused or transformed into new products because it is a recyclable and biodegradable material. This reduces waste and promotes sustainability.
2 – Affordable
In terms of cost-effectiveness, it is a great choice for individuals and businesses looking for affordable packaging solutions.
3 – Versatile
You can use cardboard for a variety of projects, from packaging to shipping. Different shapes and sizes can be created by cutting, folding, and manipulating. It also allows high-quality printing as compared to other materials.
4 – Durable and Strong
The addition of flutes between two cardboard layers makes cardboard quite strong and durable, making it ideal for protecting and shipping items of different sizes.
The packaging & printing industries have been focus of my research as a senior editor at ECB. “Packaging Notes” is the book I use to gain knowledge in packaging.