Truly Sustainable Packaging and how it contributes to a Circular Economy

18 October 2020By ellie Reuseabox

Truly Sustainable Packaging and how it contributes to a Circular Economy

Consumers want their products packed in more sustainable packaging and they’re even willing to pay more for it. In a recent study, a whopping 39% of internet shoppers thought the packaging they received was not ‘environmentally friendly’ enough. Amongst fashion shoppers, this figure rose to 54%.

A recent survey undertaken by Macfarlane identified that retailers are also using too much packaging. 23% of respondents reported receiving items that they considered to be over-packaged, with the Health and Beauty sector being the worst offender at 43%.


Truly Sustainable Packaging that Won’t Cost the Earth

At Reuseabox, we supply ‘truly sustainable packaging’. Many manufacturers claim their packaging is sustainable. It often contains recycled materials or can be recycled by the end user. But is this really sustainable? Should manufacturers be doing better than this? Just because packaging can be recycled, it doesn’t mean it actually will be.

We believe in creating packaging solutions for businesses that support a circular economy. A circular economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems. (Source: Ellen Macarthur Foundation).


Introducing Reuse-A-Box

Through Reuse-a-Box we create supply chain solutions that allow companies to reuse each other’s cardboard boxes. We collect used or unwanted cardboard boxes in bulk from some of the UK’s largest manufacturers. We make these cardboard boxes available as low cost packing boxes suitable for almost any type of company. From removal boxes to bottle boxes, right up to pallet boxes and octabins, we supply a full range of sustainable packaging options. These boxes are often in a like new condition and would otherwise be destined for the baler. By rescuing these boxes from the recycling process, we are diverting them from the waste stream and keeping these packaging materials in use for longer. As the demand for new cardboard boxes reduces, our forests can regenerate and our carbon footprint is significantly reduced.

Our Reuse Model is truly circular in design. Many of our cardboard boxes are strong enough to be reused a number of times before they are ready to be recycled and a number of our customers actually do this! For example, this works really well in the removals industry. When the boxes are no longer suitable for reuse, they can finally be recycled and with a little help, made into new cardboard boxes.

Check out the environmental benefits of our Reuse Model:

For every 1 tonne of cardboard boxes that are reused instead of recycled…

–          17 trees are saved

–          700 x LESS water is used

–          10 x LESS energy is used

–          45 x LESS CO2 emissions are generated


The environmental benefits of our Reuse Model are clear but to be ‘truly sustainable’ products must also be economically viable and carefully produced. As there are no manufacturing costs in producing ‘used cardboard boxes’, our products are incredibly low cost. Cardboard itself is often made from a high proportion of recycled board and can be easily recycled.


Sustainable Packaging Extras

For e-commerce businesses, it’s important not to over-package your products but you also need to make sure you are adequately protecting them, particularly for businesses who ship via carriers.

When securing your used cardboard boxes, consider switching to paper tape instead of plastic. Paper tape is biodegradable and won’t harm the environment if your customers fail to dispose of it properly.

If you need some protective void fill, there are plenty of eco-friendly alternatives to plastic bubble wrap that your customers will love! Recycled paper or shredded cardboard is low cost and great for protecting products. Ensure you pack products in the correct size and strength of box too. If your products are packed securely there is a smaller chance of them moving around and potentially getting damaged.


For further packing advice or to learn more about our Reuse-a-Box Initiative, drop us an email at


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