The Life Cycle of a Corrugated Box: Understanding the Recycling Process

The Life Cycle of a Corrugated Box: Understanding the Recycling Process
Posted: 04 Jan 2024   |   Environment

One of the most commonly used packaging materials is the corrugated box, which provides strength and durability for shipping and storage. As the world embraces sustainable practices, recycling corrugated boxes has become increasingly crucial in reducing waste and conserving resources. In this blog post, we will explore the journey of a corrugated box through the recycling process and highlight its environmental benefits in making recycled corrugated boxes.

1. Collection and Sorting:

The first step in recycling corrugated boxes is the collection process. Similar to other recyclable materials, corrugated boxes can be collected through curbside recycling programs, designated drop-off centers, or industrial collection systems. Once collected, the boxes go through a sorting process to separate them from other types of materials in the recycling stream.

2. Material Preparation:

After sorting, the collected corrugated boxes undergo material preparation. During this stage, any contaminants such as tape, labels, and plastic inserts are removed. The cleaned corrugated cardboard is then flattened to standard sizes, allowing for easier transportation and processing.

3. Pulping Process:

The flattened corrugated cardboard is sent to a recycling facility, where it goes through the pulping process. In this procedure, the cardboard is mixed with water, creating a slurry-like mixture. The mixture is then agitated to separate the fibers and break down the cardboard into mushy pulp.

4. Removing Impurities:

During the pulping process, impurities such as inks, dyes, and adhesives are removed to obtain high-quality pulp. Special machines and techniques are employed to facilitate this step, including screens, centrifugal cleaners, and flotation tanks. Professionals closely monitor the process to ensure optimal purity of the final product.

5. Papermaking:

The purified pulp is ready for the papermaking process. It is placed onto a moving belt or wire mesh, where excess water is drained, and the pulp begins to form into a thin, continuous sheet. This sheet is then passed between press rollers to further remove remaining moisture and create a uniform thickness.

6. Drying and Finishing:

In the final stage, the resulting sheet is sent through a drying process, where heat and controlled air flow are used to evaporate remaining water. Once completely dried, the sheet is wound onto large rolls, ready to be used for various purposes.

7. New Products:

The recycled corrugated board is now in the form of large rolls or sheets and can be used to produce various new products. These include recycled corrugated boxes, packaging materials, cardboard tubes, and other paper-based items. Manufacturing facilities transform the recycled corrugated board into new products, ready to serve a new cycle of transportation and storage needs.


Recycling corrugated boxes is a crucial step in promoting sustainable practices and a circular economy. By understanding the recycling process, we can contribute to the reduction of waste and the conservation of valuable resources. The journey of a corrugated box through recycling, from collection and sorting to material preparation and papermaking, ultimately leads to the creation of new, eco-friendly products. Let us continue to support and participate in recycling efforts to create a more sustainable future for generations to come. Check out our sustainability page for more info

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