10 Facts You May Not Know About the Humble Cardboard Box

Cat in a Cardboard Box

How has your recycling pile been this past 12 months? Yes, the wine bottle collection might be larger than usual, but we’d also predict you’ve been drowning in cardboard packaging!

Online shopping and home deliveries have led to unprecedented demand for cardboard boxes.  As reported by the BBC, e-commerce companies, including Forms Plus, have worked hard to source sufficient quality packaging to meet this demand.  Whilst we have always managed to supply what our customers need, it led us to pay closer attention to the humble cardboard box. Here are a few facts you may not know…

10 Facts you may not have known about cardboard boxes:

  1. Whilst paper has been around since around 2AD, cardboard as a packaging material was not really used industrially until 1817 when Sir Malcolm Thornhill made the first single skin cardboard boxes. 
  2. Corrugated cardboard was first developed as a way to make tall hats stand up straight, with a British Patent issued in 1856. About 15 years later, we start to see corrugated cardboard being used to make boxes stronger. It is made up of paper, fluting (the wavy bit!) and lining layers.  Different fluting levels are available, which determine how thick the box walls will be. 
  3. One reason for the current shortage of cardboard boxes, is that during lockdowns, people are tending to store packaging in their homes or garages, rather than take it to the recycling centre. As many of the packaging items we sell are made from recycled cardboard, this has led to shortages as the raw materials have been less available.
Postal Boxes 3
We stock a wide range of postal boxes and cardboard packaging
  1. Most cardboard boxes are made from softwood trees that have long fibres, such as pine, spruce and fir trees.  The type of tree used can impact the eventual colour of the box with trees from Scandinavia often producing darker brown cardboard than those from Brazil, which are light brown, or China, which are more yellow.  The Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) helps take care of these forests and their stamp of approval indicates that the cardboard is from a well-managed forest.  Many of our products are FSC-certified. 
  2. “If it fits, I sits” – we all know cats love cardboard boxes, but why? Ethologist Claudia Vinke of Utrecht University has actually run some research with cats in an animal shelter. The findings suggested that cats stress levels were considerably reduced by providing them with a box to hide in, whatever size it was.     
If it fits, I sits
  1. Unlikely to go as viral as a cat meme, but a question we get asked all the time, Royal Mail PIP (Pricing in Proportion) box sizes may well be important to you when deciding on postal boxes, so here they are:

Royal Mail Box Sizes

Box SizeWeightLengthWidthDepth
Large Letter750g35.3cm25cm2.5cm
Small Parcel2kg45cm35cm16cm
Medium Parcel20kg61cm46cm
Large Parcel30kg1.5m
Royal Mail PiP Box Sizes – for more info visit the Royal Mail Website
For large parcels, length and depth combined must not exceed 3m

We stock a full range of PiP Royal Mail postal boxes.

  1. Cardboard packaging is currently the most environmentally friendly protective packaging solution on the market. It is biodegradable, non-toxic, recycled, recyclable and can be cut to the correct shape and size for your parcels to take up less space during shipping, saving on carbon emissions. 
  2. The UK has amongst the world’s highest recycling rates for packaging.  The latest figures available from DEFRA indicate that in 2017, 70% of UK packaging waste was either recycled or recovered, including 4.7 million tonnes of paper and cardboard.
  1. There are a few things to consider when choosing the right cardboard carton.  Apart from choosing the best size for your packages, you will also need to think about thickness.  Boxes are available in single or double wall. Double wall boxes add an extra layer of protection around your products, are more likely to stack without crushing and are better suited to fragile, heavy or valuable shipments.  They don’t weigh much more than single wall boxes, so are unlikely to add to postage costs. 
  2. The Kellogg brothers invented the first cardboard cereal box in the early 1900s, but originally the cereal was loose in the box and a heat-sealed wax bag was wrapped around the outside. These boxes are now collectors’ items and can sell for thousands of pounds

If you’d like to find out even more about cardboard boxes, visit our Cardboard Packaging pages or get in touch – or once we can travel again, you might want to visit the Cardboard and Printing Museum in Valreas in France (yes it exists!).

Featured Product – Grip Seal Bags

Narrow Grip Seal Bag for Packaging Small Items

This year, we will be using our blog to feature products from our ranges and highlight information that might help you make the best selection to meet your packaging and label needs. This month we are starting out with the humble grip seal bags.

Grip seal bags, also known as zip lock bags, are clear polythene bags with a simple grip lock closure at one end.  Simply pull open and push the two sides together to close the bag, making a robust seal.  As no adhesive is involved, the bags are resealable and reusable time and time again.  Therefore great for the environment. 

Available in 19 sizes from 37mm x 62mm up to 375mm x 500mm, grip seal bags are ideal for packaging all types of products. We have seen them used for everything from tiny earrings, craft items, electronics, vitamins, food products, fashion accessories, books and brochures and even clothing.

With an almost airtight seal, grip seal bags protect your products from moisture, odours or other contamination. If you are sending out something perfumed, they will also keep that smell contained, protecting the rest of the package.   

Ideal for sending out different quantities of smaller products, these small, clear pouches are also helpful for keeping your stock organised and speeding up your picking and packing process. 

At Forms Plus, we have focussed on quality when selecting our grip seal bags.  This means that the closure is sturdy and a good fit, opening and closing easily. They are fully reusable should your customers choose to keep their bags as storage, once the parcel is received. 

Our bags are made from 160 gauge/40-micron LDPE (low density polyethylene) which means they are strong, fairly heavy duty and less likely to be punctured.  They can also be recycled or reused. 

Do have a look at our range of grip seal bags and get in touch if you have any questions.  We think you’ll find them a versatile and cost-effective solution to sorting and protecting many of the items you send out.  We also had some fun choosing products to fill them with for our photoshoot!