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Definitive Guide to Shipping Boxes

In this definitive guide, we break down what you need to know about corrugated shipping boxes – when to use them to ship your orders, when not to use them, what box type to choose, what board strength to select, how much boxes will cost, and how you can consider mother nature throughout your decision process.

We know that sometimes it is easier to talk to a human! Please contact us if we can help you find the right shipping solutions for your business.

Ready to order your shipping boxes? Shop 100% Recycled Custom Shipping Boxes, all of which are custom cut to your specifications and can be branded with your unique design. Or shop Discounted Shipping Boxes, where we've discounted pricing on our most popular 100% recycled shipping box sizes by 15% to make it even easier for you to ship in sustainable packaging.

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Table of Contents

Summary

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When should I use a corrugated box to ship my orders?

Almost all products can be shipped in a corrugated box. Apparel, appliances, jewelry, skincare, yarn and fabrics, outdoor gear, food … the list goes on. So, the real question is: what are the pros of using a corrugated box versus your other main option - a mailer? The pros of shipping boxes outweigh the cons for some businesses. For others, mailers end up being the way to go.

The pros of shipping in a box: 

  • They do a great job protecting your products.
  • They make for a great presentation.
  • They come in virtually infinite size options so you can likely find one to meet your needs.
  • Once filled, shipping boxes are stackable which can be great for your warehouse operations.
  • They are made with paper, a renewable resource, and can be made with recycled content and up to 100% recycled content.
  • They are recyclable and compostable. And most recipients have quick and easy access to recycling paper.

The cons of shipping in a box:

  • They are not 100% weatherproof, although we have found it rare that weather becomes a major factor in eCommerce shipping.
  • They are typically more expensive to purchase than mailers.
  • They are heavier than mailers which can lead to higher shipping costs on both inbound boxes (shipped to fulfillment location) and outbound boxes (shipped to customer).
  • They take up more space in your warehouse.
  • They have to be assembled and taped which means they require more labor than a mailer.

Here are the types of products and companies we most often find are best suited to use a shipping box.

  • Large or Bulky Items: Boots, water bottles, blenders, or children’s toys. Items that are wide, tall, and relatively deep often need a box rather than a mailer.
  • Collections of Items: If you’re shipping a few different items in a single order – for example, several lotions and hair care, or two bottles of oil and three bars of soap, or a pair of shoes and a hat – a box tends to be more flexible and work better than a mailer. This is especially true if your orders vary, but you only want to keep one or two different shipping containers on hand. You can stock a single box size that can work for almost all orders you anticipate.
  • Fragile Items: Items that must be handled with care such as large glass bottles or candles. Small, compact bottles can often be wrapped and shipped in padded mailers or bubble mailers. For larger glass bottles, a shipping box is the best way to ship. This also includes something like a heavy, high-quality, hardcover book or a picture frame. These items could work in a mailer. However, you may find that a box protects the corners more than a mailer does.
  • High-End Presentation: While mailers can be beautifully branded, a shipping box typically provides a more impressive un-packaging experience for customers. Boxes are sturdy, can be filled with presentation paper, and allow for items to be arranged appealingly. For this reason, some companies selling products that could be sold in a mailer (such as apparel) will still opt for a box.
  • Subscription Services: Subscription services or “box of the month” companies typically go with boxes for many of the reasons already listed above. Most importantly, the majority of them deliver a collection of items each month. Successful subscription services understand the importance of creating an appealing unboxing experience that keeps their customers coming back again and again.

Read more on our blog: Choosing Between a Mailer or a Shipping Box

 

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What type of shipping box should I use?

There are five common box styles. Here we describe what they are and what they are best suited for, in order or our sales volume of each:

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Tab Locking Box (TL)

These are the boxes we recommend the most and sell the most. This is the classic presentation style box that is used by many brand-conscious eCommerce businesses to create a wonderful unboxing experience for the customer. Their logo and branding look great on the lid of the box. The locking tabs create a clean seal for the box and get the sealing tape on the bottom corner of the box versus the top edge of a Literature Mailer or the across the top of a Regular Slotted Container. These are ideal for most eCommerce products, including apparel, accessories, cosmetics, small toys, outdoor wear. Avoid the TL when shipping large boxes (greater than 15” x 15”) or heavy goods (>15lbs).

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Literature Mailer (LM)

Very similar in design to the TL box, this box style can be used for the same items. Because the material footprint is essentially the same, we offer the same price for LMs and TLs. Thus, for most customers, the choice between a TL and LM is based on aesthetic preference. The LM has the seam on the top edge of the box versus the bottom edge of the TL. The LM’s lid rests on the sides of the box, which hides the side seams and folds that see on a TL. However, the LM is quicker to assemble due to the lid folding into the box versus the TL’s two tabs that fold into slots.

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Regular Slotted Container (RSC)

RSCs are the traditional industrial box seen throughout life. Think moving boxes and Amazon boxes. Each side has a tab that folds over and the seam is taped shut on the top and bottom of the box. RSCs are great for heavy products (>15lbs) and deep box sizes (>6”). Many customers use RSCs when packing wrapped fragile items in packaging paper or packing heavy items such as books, liquids, or ceramics.

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Five-Panel Folder (FPF)

Very similar in design to the RSC, except FPFs have an extra inside flap that reinforces the structural integrity of the box. This design is best for tall or long items such as a wooden sculpted Statue of Liberty, a skyscraper model, or a baseball bat.

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One Panel Fold (OPF)

In a class all by itself, the OPF is a great box for slim to flat items such as picture frames, prints, books, and jump ropes. The OPF flaps each fold around the product and meets on the backside of the box, creating a very clean front panel with no seams. The OPF looks great when printed. Several variations can make these boxes very quick to pack. For example, we have developed a wrap-around OPF that allows you to wrap the product versus folding over each of the four sides. The OPF is a great way to quickly package large volumes of the right product.

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Corrugated Pads

These typically serve one of three purposes:

  • Product divider: Imagine two similarly sized wooden jewelry boxes are sitting side by side in your shipping box. You are concerned they will knock against each other, chipping paint or damaging the wood. Place a corrugated pad between the jewelry boxes to keep them from bouncing into each other during transit.
  • Additional compression protection to your product: For example, a semi-fragile bottle of lotion or oil could benefit from a layer of compression protection. You have more cushioning upon impact by adding a pad to the top and/or bottom of the package.
  • Increase rigidity of a print: Used frequently by artists when shipping with mailers, a corrugated pad adds additional rigidity to your print to reduce the chance of bending during transit.

Scored pad dividers can separate two or more products within your box and provide more visibility, attention, and protection to each piece. Imagine shipping a t-shirt and a rolled print in a single box. Without a divider, the t-shirt will move around and likely damage the print. With a divider, the t-shirt can arrive looking sharp - still folded with the print showing immediately. The print – contained in its cozy corner - arrives with no damage from the t-shirt.

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Tray

Ideal for transporting plants, cans, bottles and more!

 

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What are flutes?

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A corrugated sheet has two parts: the linerboard (the flat, outer covering) and the flute (the s-shaped, wavy paper between the linerboard). The flute enables corrugated sheets to resist bending and allows the sheets and the boxes made from them to withstand pressure.

Flutes vary in two main characteristics – their height (which creates the thickness of the cardboard sheet) and how tightly or loosely they are waved or fluted.

The following chart describes the most common types of flutes used in shipping:

FluteCharacteristicsGood For
B 1/8” thick, 42-50 flutes / foot Resisting crushing, stacking strength. Good for folding and printing, and therefore, good for presentation style boxes such as Tab Locking and Literature Mailers. Lower price vs C or E flute.
C 11/64″ thick, 39-43 flutes / foot Provides good cushioning and strong enough for medium weight boxes. An effective surface for printing (though slightly less so than B flute).
E 1/16” thick, 94 flutes / foot Strong crush resistance. Excellent surface for printing. Excellent for folding. Becoming more popular in ecommerce presentation boxes. Reduces box storage space.

The above chart describes single wall boards. Corrugated sheets can also be double wall or even triple wall for added thickness and strength. Double and triple wall corrugated flutes are described by the flutes of the two or three sheets used together. Multi-wall corrugated is typically only used in larger industrial containers and rarely used in traditional eCommerce.

The vast majority of eCommerce shipping boxes are made with single-wall flutes and are typically B, C, or E flutes, all of which strike an appropriate balance of creating strong boxes that are relatively lightweight.

 

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What does shipping box strength mean?

The strength of a specific box is driven by three factors:

  • The box style
  • The box dimensions
  • The strength rating of the corrugated sheets used to make the box

This strength rating is driven by several factors:

  • Flutes
  • Weight
  • The thickness of the linerboard
  • The material used for the linerboard
  • The adhesive used to glue the flutes to the linerboard

ECT (or Edge Crush Test) is the most common way to describe corrugated strength today. ECT tells you how much weight a sheet of corrugated can withstand when is standing up (on its edge).

Box Strength

For example, a 32ECT corrugated sheet, the most common type, means the sheet can withstand 32 pounds of pressure stacked on the edge of the board. The Mullen Test is how cardboard strength was measured for the majority of the last century. Also referred to as the burst test, this measures how much pressure a corrugated sheet can withstand when laying flat, suspended in the air.

The Mullen Test is measured in PSI, and the most common strength is 200lbs/sq inch. The fundamental difference between the two tests is that under the Mullen Test there is a minimum weight requirement for the liner of corrugated. That is, the Mullen Test requires that the base papers used to make corrugated linerboard weigh at least a certain minimum number of pounds per given unit of area. The ECT has eliminated this requirement, allowing the use of fewer and lighter-weight materials while still providing high performance. So, when you are comparing two identically sized cartons with similar strengths, one being Mullen Test rated and one being ECT rated, the ECT rated carton will weigh less and use fewer materials.

ECT strength is suitable for the vast majority of shipping boxes and is the only one that works with boxes made with recycled content. EcoEnclose box strengths are all ECT, and most companies selling shipping boxes are in the same boat. As you determine the best type of corrugated to use for your boxes, check out this great reference from the team of folks that have delivered millions…and millions and millions of packages just like yours – UPS. Even more important than their vast experience is that they are often the folks who will determine whether or not to honor claims on damaged packages! They provide the following recommendations on their website UPS does not address the 23B material, but based on our own experience, we have added our guidelines to the chart below.

Maximum Weight of Box and Contents (lbs/kg)Size Limit of Box Length, Width, and Depth Added (inches/cm)*Minimum Bursting Test (lbs per sq. inch/kg per sq. cm)Minimum Edge Crush Test (ECT) (lbs per inch/kg per cm width)
5-10* 30* 125 * 23*
30 75 200 32
40 75 200 40
50 85 250 44
65 95 275 55
80 105 350 N/A

*EcoEnclose recommendations; not provided by UPS.

As described above, ECT (or Mullen Test) is just one factor driving the strength of a box itself. The box style is also important. Regular Slotted Container (RSC) styles are inherently stronger; while Tab Locking styles are typically not as strong. Finally, the bigger the box, the lower its strength. That is to say, a box that is 5x5x5 made with 32ECT C will resist crushing more effectively than the same style box that is 10x10x10 made with 32ECT C.

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Which corrugated material should I use?

  • Box Style: For a presentation style box (such as a Tab Locking Box or a Literature Mailer), you will typically want to select a board that is easy to fold, such as a B flute or E flute. We do make presentation boxes in thicker material, however, you may find the folding and creasing to be a little more cumbersome. We typically suggest 32 ECT C or 44 ECT for RSC boxes depending on the weight of the product shipped. We can make most shipping boxes out of most boards, but we suggest ordering a sample first.

  • Protecting your product and ensuring your package can withstand the weight of its contents during transit: If you are shipping small, light items that are not fragile, you likely do not need the heavy-duty box. Look closely at the table above regarding the recommended product weight and box dimensions for safe transit.

  • Printing: Some corrugated sheets – especially 32ECT E – are thinner, sleeker, or result in more successful printing because the flutes are narrow and tight together. Contrast this with the 44 ECT with fewer flutes twice as wide; these flutes create small ridges in the printing surface. You will feel these ridges as you run your hand across the cardboard, and these ridges make it difficult to get an even print finish.

  • Cost Efficiency: Consider the cost of the box itself, the inbound shipping (to your fulfillment location), and outbound shipping (to your customer). Board material is typically stronger because it has more cardboard material per square inch. For two identical boxes designs, the stronger material will cost more and weigh more.

EcoEnclose offers five different corrugated sheet options: 23ECT B Flute, 32ECT B Flute, 32ECT C Flute, 32ECT E Flute, and 44ECT C Flute. We work with these five options because we have found these a) satisfy nearly all non-industrial shipping needs and b) are the most cost-effective options to meet said needs. As you consider your options, here is a handy chart to determine the best sheet type for your box.

Sheet TypeStock Box Style(s)*Use if…Avoid if…
23 ECT B Flute LM, TL, OPF, Tray You ship items that collectively weigh less than 5lbs, want minimize costs and/or want a basic print on the outside of the box. This is utility corrugate that uses minimal material. It is more subject to crushing as it is not as strong or as stiff as other options. You are shipping heavy things (>15lbs), have a large box (greater than 32 inches of L + W + H), want to print on the inside of the box.
32 ECT B Flute RSC, LM, TL, FPF, OPF You ship items that collectively weigh between 15lbs and 25 lbs  
32 ECT C Flute Large LM, Large TL, RSC, FPF, OPF, Tray You ship items that collectively weigh between 15lbs and 25 lbs or have a larger Presentation Box with greater than 30 inches in L+W+H). You are shipping very light materials or small material as you are likely overpaying for the extra protection. B flute can be 15-20% cheaper that C Flute.
32 ECT E Flute LM, TL You ship items that collectively weigh between 15lbs and 25 lbs. You are want a very clean design, an excellent printing finish or to print on the inside of the box. This also a good option if you have limited storage space because the material is much thinner than either B flute or C flute. You are shipping very light materials or small material as you are likely overpaying for the extra protection. The raw material for 23 ECT can cost 15-20% less than that 32 ECT.
44 ECT C Flute RSC, FPF You ship items that collectively weight up to 40lbs or you have a high value product that needs the heavy duty crush protection. You are shipping very light materials or small material as you are likely overpaying for the extra protection. Raw material on 44 ECT can cost 40-50% more than the 32 ECT.

*EcoEnclose recommendations; not provided by UPS.

We can offer most designs in any material if you have a specific need. We try to limit the stock options to simplify the decision process.

 

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How do I fold my EcoEnclose shipping box?

Here we show a quick tutorial on how to fold each of the 7 boxes we offer at EcoEnclose

 

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When do I need lining, bubble or fill with my shipping box?

If your item or items fit snuggly without moving around in your box AND if your items are not fragile, you likely do not need void fill, though you might consider void fill or tissue paper for presentation. EcoEnclose custom cuts every box according to customer specifications, allowing you to get the precise box for your needs. We hope this method allows you to eliminate or minimize void fill and ensures you are not using and paying for more corrugated than you need.

Five reasons you might need fill or lining:

  • Individual Product Protection: Fragile items should often be individually wrapped before placing them in their shipping container. Wrap each product with enough cushioning for protection against the impact of a package being dropped and from colliding with other products in the box.
  • Blocking & Bracing: Filling space in your package to hold products in place. If you sell a few different items and end up with a box that has space, you are looking for packaging solutions to fill that space and prevent package contents from moving around in transit.
  • Cushioning: Some items are not fragile or awkwardly shaped. However, these items often require edge crush protection to ensure that any impact to the package does not result in the crushing of corners and sides.
  • Dust & Scuff Protection: Some items or situations, such as a dress shirt, call for basic dust and scuff protection.
  • Presentation: Adds a unique finishing touch to your product packaging to leave customers with a beautiful and lasting impression and showcase your brand. Some items that serve the previously described functional needs of void fill can also be used in such a way that they enhance your package presentation.

EcoEnclose options for lining, void fill, and presentation paper:

Check out our Definitive Guide to Protective Packaging and Void Fill for more information.

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Shop: Packaging Paper

A traditional void fill that is balled or crinkled up to fill space in a shipping box. Also used to wrap products for some protection and presentation. They are available pre-cut or in rolls (and dispensers are available to make them easy to tear). We recommend rolls simply because they help you use only the amount of paper you need at any given time – good for the environment and your wallet. There are quite a few types of packing paper, with different thicknesses, textures, colors, and moldability. We at EcoEnclose offer five different types - Kraft Paper, Newsprint Paper, Bogus Paper, Indented Kraft Paper, NextGen Wheat Paper.

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Shop: Corrugated Bubble

Sheets of shredded corrugated that can be wrapped around items or be rolled up and used to fill empty spaces. If you are consistently packaging the same product, these can be cut to a specific size, eliminating the need to tear paper or cut bubble wrap.

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Shop: GreenWrap

This is a wonderful product that can be molded around items to provide cushioning and padded protection. Imagine bubble wrap but in paper instead of plastic. And being paper-based, it is naturally biodegradable, compostable, and fully recyclable. The GreenWrap we sell is also SFI-certified – Bonus!

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Shop: Tissue Paper

Tissue paper makes for a beautiful presentation and is an excellent dust and scuff protector. It can be a strong addition if your shipper box fits your products snugly, but you want to add a layer of presentation for the recipient.
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Shop: Ornament Paper Shred

Shredded indented Kraft packaging paper that can be scrunched up and laid into a shipping box to provide basic cushioning and make for a nice presentation. Great for companies that ship a variety of items in small boxes and need to lay down a cushioning and decorative nest at the bottom.
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Explore: Molded Pulp

An eco-friendly alternative to polystyrene packaging solutions. We have worked on a unique molded pulp tray design that allows for multiple bottle sizes to be mixed and matched to work for your business. Great for shipping essential oils, tinctures, and other small fragile bottles.
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Custom Inserts

Corrugated sheets custom cut to separate or hold your products within your box. These are great shipping solutions for companies that see the unboxing experience as key to their brand and overall customer experience, ship multiple items in one box, consistently ship the same combination of items, or ship a high enough volume of boxes to warrant the investment in designing these inserts.

EcoEnclose currently does not offer custom inserts.

Check out our Definitive Guide to Protective Packaging and Void Fill for more information. 

 

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What size shipping box do I need? How do I measure a shipping box?

At EcoEnclose, every single box we sell is custom cut, so it is the exact size you need it to be. Minimize all of the extra, unnecessary air within your shipping box for more eco-friendly shipping that is less expensive and visually appealing.

Trying to figure out the right size for your shipping box? We recommend laying your item(s) you need to ship on a table and measuring an imaginary boundary around your products to determine the length, width, and height of your shipping box.

If your vision is to make the box fit perfectly around your items, then a simple guideline would be to add 0.125 inches to the length and 0.125 inches to the width (and keep the height the same).

If you use void fill, consider what type and how much you plan on using, and add this cushion to your dimensions.

Note that the dimensions you input on our site for boxes refer to the inside dimensions of the box you will receive. We recommend ordering a sample before stocking up if you have any doubts. Most other shipping supplies companies provide stock sizes for each box style. If you order stock box sizes, we recommend going through the same steps as above and finding the stock box size (in the style you are seeking) in dimensions that are at least as big as what you measured.

Minimizing your box size is ideal for several reasons:

  • Reduce the void fill you might need
  • Reduce the materials needed to create your box
  • Reduce shipping costs (especially in the age of dimensional weight pricing)

Learn more on our blog: Right-Size Your Sustainable Packaging

 

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What kind of tape should I use - Pressure-Sensitive Tape or Water-Activated Tape?

There are two main categories of carton sealing tape. Bottom line: WAT is stronger, tamper-evident, and performs well under all weather conditions. EcoEnclose uses WAT for its outgoing shipments for this very reason because we typically ship out heavy boxes. However, for most small businesses that ship fairly lightweight items, PST is typically sufficient and allows for simpler operations.

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Water-Activated Tape (WAT)

Also known as gummed tape, is a form of paper tape with a water-based chemical adhesive that is reactivated by water. Water-activated tape can be found in plain Kraft paper or with several layers of paper and fiberglass reinforcement. When the water-activated adhesive is applied to a carton, a capillary action bonds the tape to the carton.

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Pressure-Sensitive Tape (PST)

Consists of film and a tacky substance that adheres to a given surface when light pressure is applied. Most tapes you use at home - masking tape, duct tape, Scotch tape – are all PST.

 

 Water-Activated TapePressure-Sensitive Tape
Tamper Resistant Extremely tamper resistant, as it cannot be peeled off and must be broken. If you’re received a box sealed with water activated tape, you know this! No box is completely tamper resistant though, as a fresh layer of tape on top of the tampering can hide this. Less tamper resistant, as pressure sensitive tape can be peeled off.
Strength Provides a strong seal. Typically, the box itself will break well before the tape will. Seal is not as strong; though is sufficient for most standard, lightweight boxes.
Ease of use Requires tape to be activated by water, ideally with special dispensers designed for WAT. Does not require any special dispenser to use.
Cost Often (though not in the case of EcoEnclose’s WAT), it is more expensive per foot than its PST counterparts. However, many argue that less WAT is used because of the strength of its seal, leading to equivalent or even lower total cost. Again, WAT would ideally be used in conjunction with a special dispenser, so it does have a higher up front cost than PST. Often (again, though not in the case of EcoEnclose’s tape options), it is less expensive per foot. however, people often double seal or use more tape than is needed leading to higher actual cost of use.
Weather WAT’s adhesive or strength does not change in cold or heat. PST’s adhesive effectiveness sometimes decreases in extreme – hot or cold – weather conditions.

A note on sustainability:

The vast majority of packing tape is made with virgin materials. Options (like ours) do exist that are made with recycled or renewable (plant-based) materials. Additionally, options (like ours) are technically biodegradable and/or recyclable.

However, when you’re looking for the most sustainable tape option, it is important to understand the disposal process for the material. The majority of boxes in the US are recycled (rather than composted). The process of recycling corrugated boxes involves churning it up with water to make a slurry. In this process, adhesive and any polymers rise to the top and are skimmed off and disposed of. For this reason, the majority of materials in packing tape are likely to end up in a landfill, even if they are technically recyclable or biodegradable. Therefore, we recommend focusing predominantly on how tape is made when choosing the most sustainable option.

 

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Can I custom print my shipping boxes?

Yes! Branding your boxes can be a great way to promote your brand and wow your customers.

custom printed 100% recycled shipping boxes

Boxes can be printed through a few methods: flexography, screen printing, and digital printing. As you can imagine, they have their pros and cons.

  • Digital Printing: allows for an immense array of colors and designs for corrugated. Finish can be matte or gloss. And the set up time is low. However, the cost per print or box is very high. Digital corrugated printing is therefore not typically used for shipper boxes and is reserved for things like displays and retail packaging.
  • Flexographic Printing: turns your design into a “plate” which is then used to stamp your boxes with fast drying ink. There is a setup fee and time associated with it, but then the per-box printing fee is fairly low. EcoEnclose uses flexographic printing and has helped companies design beautiful shippers! As an added bonus, flexo printing (unlike digital printing) easily allows for the use of soy and water based inks which can be non-toxic and can be safely recycled or composted.
  • Screen Printing: a process by which ink is forced onto a surface through a prepared screen of fine material to create the desired design. It is known to create vibrant colors because the ink is applied thickly. This process is most frequently used for apparel, but is certainly an option for cardboard for individuals or shops that are already screen printing as part of their business.

EcoEnclose uses flexographic printing and offers single color custom printing on virtually any box size and style. While our primary service is to offer single panel printing, we also offer multi-panel printing options and can print on the inside of boxes made with our 32ECT E (E flute) option.

Click here to learn more about EcoEnclose’s custom printing services for boxes.

 

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Are shipping boxes eco-friendly? Is paper more sustainable than plastic?

Grab a cup of fair trade coffee and stay awhile… this is one tough question!

There are lots of things to consider when it comes to the full environmental life cycle of your shipping containers.

What does it take to make them?

Typically, a cardboard box requires more resources and takes more energy to produce than an equivalent plastic mailer.

One 13x19x2” cardboard box requires 0.7 lbs of paper while 1 12.5x18.25x.25” poly mailer requires 0.052 lbs of plastic. However, cardboard is of course made from trees, which are a renewable resource. The same box takes 23 times more energy and emits 6 times more CO2 in production than the mailer.

What does it take to ship them to you, and then to your customers?

The carbon footprint of shipping is driven both by the dimension and weight of packages. Here again, cardboard is typically heavier than an equivalent poly mailer (and inherently leads to more air being shipped) and therefore requires more energy to ship.

What happens after you use them?

Most boxes and mailers can be reused, at least once. However, most of them are not reused. Consumers are far more likely to recycle cardboard boxes than plastic mailers. Recent studies have shown that over 70% of cardboard boxes are recycled in the US and this figure is increasing each year. This is very important, as it means that even though poly mailers do have some eco advantages in manufacturing and logistics, the majority of them are still landfill-bound. On the other hand, boxes are more likely to find themselves recycled and put back in the industrial supply chain. Additionally, boxes can be composted.

Bottom line?

There is not a bottom line, unfortunately. Paper has its advantages just like plastic mailers. Ultimately, we recommend you make the best decision for your specific products and company. What protects and presents your goods as effectively as possible? If you have decided that boxes are the best solution for you, then the best thing you can do for the planet is to work hard to make all aspects of your shipper boxes sustainable.

 

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How do you design a sustainable shipping box?

Eco-Features of EcoEnclose 100% Recycled Shipping Boxes:

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Choose as much recycled content as possible.

A lot of companies tout “made with recycled content” on their boxes. This is a fuzzy statement, that as a standard, typically means made with approximately 30% recycled content. If you can, look for boxes that are made with 100% recycled content and as much post-consumer waste as possible. Our boxes are 100% recycled, with at least 95% post-consumer waste. We say, “if you can” because it is important to acknowledge that paper products made with recycled content are weaker than their virgin content counterparts. Virgin paper fibers are longer, and longer fibers interweave better, leading to a stronger paper.

In some situations, such as boxes carrying heavy items that are palletized, or boxes carrying expensive and fragile items (think high-end electronics), 100% recycled corrugated isn’t strong enough. But we have found that most products being shipped to customers work well in our 100% recycled boxes. We encourage you to order a sample or contact us if you have concerns about the quality and strength of recycled cardboard.

Make your box as small and snug as possible for your needs.

If you order stock sizes from a supplier, work hard to find the most suitable size for your needs. Better yet, order custom sizes so you know you are not using any more material than you need – for the box itself and void fill. EcoEnclose 100% Recycled Shipping Boxes are available in a multitude of configurations and every box is customized to your specific needs so your unique products fit perfectly.

Encourage your customers to reuse, recycle or compost their boxes.

Let them know in your confirmation or shipping emails? Add a stamp or a note in their box encouraging them to dispose of their shipping boxes responsibly. Or take a cue from some of our super creative companies and provide cool ideas for reuse (one company filled their box with seed paper and encouraged customers to plant a garden in the box itself!).

Choose eco-friendly shipping services.

If you do not need your boxes right away, choose ground shipping. Give your customers the option (and encourage them to take it!) for ground shipping.

Learn more on our blog:

Custom Shipping Boxes: Should You Go With Kraft or White Boxes?

Paper vs. Plastic: Which Should I Use for My Packaging?

 

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