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What Is Corrugated Cardboard? When Was It Invented?

What Is Corrugated Cardboard? When Was It Invented?


By: Hadyn Oliver

3 Minute Read

As you’d know, corrugated cardboard is the most popular packaging material used in today’s world. And it’s not expected to change anytime soon. 

Why? There are several reasons but to mention a few:

  • Lightweight
  • Strong
  • Sustainable
  • Provide excellent protection.

In this guide we are going to help you understand why it’s so strong, how it’s made, and some tips on disposing. Standard Single Wall Shipping Box

Let’s get on with it …

What is corrugated board made up of?

What actually is corrugated board? To put it simply, it’s an arrangement of card that makes up the wall of a corrugated box. It’s a combination of materials which gives the cardboard a solid strength and makes it resistant to crushing.

As you would have noticed, it’s made up of a wavy pattern. This is what provides the strength the sides of your box. The wavy board is then held in place by 2 sheets of paper on either side, this is known as fluting. The 2 sheets are generally made up of either Kraft or Test paper, and are there to keep the wavy (corrugate) secure. 

If you’re puzzled about the above – grab a box and take a look, and it will most likely look like what I’ve described above. 

Standard Single Wall Shipping Box (2)

When was it first invented?

Did you know corrugated cardboard has been around for 165 years!

In fact, it was actually patented in 1856, but was used for things like hat lining rather than packaging materials. 

By 1871, it was patented for packaging and shipping use and people used it to wrap bottles and glass. By the 1900’s it started to replace wooden crates and by 2000’s it was one of the most common packaging materials used. 

Let’s take a look at how they make it!

How is it made?

The inner corrugated board is the first step. It’s done using a large machine called the “corrugator” which heats and presses the board to form the wavy look. The 2 outer liners (fluting) is then fed through and glued to the corrugate using a strong adhesive. Once the glue is set, the sheets are cut into various sizes to form the flat pack boxes you would receive from your supplier!

What is it used for?

This may seem a dumb question, but corrugated cardboard is actually used for many different things. 

The innovative construction features the 3 separate materials which provide the box with its incredible strength. That’s the reason it is most commonly used for shipping purposes. 

Standard Single Wall Shipping Box (1) - SustabioBut when it comes to choosing the box for your shipping, it gets so complicated! What thickness? Double wall or single? What fluting? What gsm do I need?

We’ve made it simple for you – get in touch with the Sustabio team and we will help you understand which box you need. 

Look at it this way – single wall boxes are lighter but still strong and used for shipping lighter items. Whereas the triple wall can hold up to an impressive 500kg in weight!

Is corrugated board eco?

Using unsustainable packaging is a no-go these days. Consumers hate anything that isn’t eco-friendly and that’s why many companies have turned to corrugated board. It can be disposed of safely and in an environmentally responsible way. 

Corrugated board breaks down over time – so it can easily be added to your home compost bin and it will degrade. 

Even though cardboard boxes do break down, it’s always better to recycle it where possible. Local recycling collections for paper and card are frequent to provide you with an efficient way to recycle your cardboard. 

If you’re struggling with a large amount of cardboard, you can always shred it so it can be used as void fill. You can purchase automatic cardboard shredders which perforate the material into shock absorbent netting. Alternatively you can shred it by hand using scissors to chop it into lengths or smaller parts. 

Is there such a thing as non-corrugated board?

There actually is! Obviously it’s the opposite to corrugated board. This is a far less common material and is made up of layered cardboard which gives a smoother finish making it easier to print on. 

This type of cardboard can only hold lightweight products – things like presentation or display boxes. It’s not recommended to be used as a shipping box due to its simple lightweight construction. 

Wrapping up …

Hopefully this quick guide has given you some insights into corrugated cardboard and extended your knowledge of your packaging. 

If you have any questions, or would like to find out more, please let us know. 


One Comment

  1. Mia Evans

    I totally agree when you said that cardboard boxes should be recycled because it is better than way, and there are corrugated recycling services out there to provide efficient ways to do so. Every month we buy boxes of groceries, so already have lots of them in the garage. We were thinking of how to dispose of them, and it seems like the best thing to do is to look for recycling centers to take them to.

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