16 November 2023By ellie Reuseabox

Are Cardboard Boxes Eco-friendly?

Cardboard boxes are one of the most popular packaging materials. They’re lightweight, highly protective and good value for money. But how do they stack up from an environmental perspective?

Keep reading to find out more about the eco credentials of cardboard boxes.

corrugated cardboard boxes

Highly Recyclable

In 2021 cardboard and paper achieved a 70.6% recycling rate, making it one of the most highly recycled types of packaging. (DEFRA’s UK Statistics on Waste) Recycling is important as it reduces our waste to landfill and helps reduce the need for processing raw materials which causes air and water pollution.



One of the great things about cardboard boxes is their versatility. A delivery box can be reused to store books and files, or re-purposed into a play area for your cat! Most boxes can be reused a few times before they’re ready to be recycled. Businesses can even Buy Once Used Boxes to pack their products from Reuseabox.


Non Toxic and Biodegradable

Unlike plastic, cardboard is non-toxic and will Break Down Naturally if left in the environment in just a few months. You can add it to your compost heap where it will break down into a nutrient rich soil. Perfect for gardening!


The Negative Impact of Cardboard

Are cardboard boxes eco-friendly?


Cardboard is often seen as the eco-friendly packaging option. But many of us forget that we need trees to make cardboard boxes. And the world destroys a lot of trees to keep up with demand. In fact, 3 Billion Trees are cut down each year for the paper packaging industry. That’s around 95 trees a second! Many trees are sourced from FSC sustainable forests where more trees are re-planted. But these trees take decades to grow and mature. New trees won’t be able to absorb CO2 or support biodiversity for many years which is why it is always better to protect existing trees rather than plant new ones.

Cardboard is also much heavier to ship than other packaging options such as plastic. This means more CO2 is produced to transport it.

Not all cardboard gets recycled. While current recycling rates are high, a percentage of cardboard still finds its way into landfill where it breaks down and releases methane, one of the most harmful greenhouse gases.


The Solution – Reuse Cardboard Boxes

Unfortunately, everything has an environmental impact but cardboard boxes are still a very eco-friendly option for those businesses who care about the environment. The best way to ensure your boxes are as low impact as possible is to reuse them!

Most cardboard boxes can be reused a few times before they’re ready to be recycled. Reuseabox makes it easy for companies to reuse cardboard boxes, simply because it’s better for the planet. When you reuse just 1 tonne (that’s around 6 pallets of boxes), you save:

An image explaining that reusing one tonne of cardboard boxes saves: 5.2 trees, 0.7 tonnes of carbon, 4,315 KWH of energy, and 148,352 litres of water

If you’re a business that uses cardboard boxes, you can buy once used Eco-Friendly Boxes from Reuseabox. Not only are these boxes significantly better for the environment, they’re also up to 50% cheaper than new ones!


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