Whether you realize it or not, cardboard is one of the most abundant materials in our nation. Sure, you may think wood, cotton, or plastic are up there in the top materials (and they certainly are), but think about how many packages are shipped every single day in America. What are those packages enclosed in? Cardboard shipping boxes.
What makes this material so abundant, then? Well, for starters, it’s incredibly cheap to produce. And just in case you didn’t know, cardboard comes from recycled paper everywhere. Essentially, all the paper you can think of in the world at some point or another is recycled. And cardboard happens to be the main place that paper goes.
Another reason it’s so widely used is its weight. Shipping rates often depend on the size and weight of a parcel. Well, if the size can be kept to pretty much the item’s dimensions (give or take a few inches extra from the cardboard box) and the weight is just a few ounces more from the cardboard, the rates won’t increase much at all. That’s the idea behind it, at least.
Additionally, cardboard is quite sturdy for being so lightweight and cheap. No, it’s not going to withstand a blunt force blow from a hammer anytime soon, but packages that are bumped around in transit are extremely unlikely to damage the goods within, especially with proper packing paper or bubble wrap.
When you think about it, cardboard is the perfect candidate for shipping boxes around the world. Plastic cannot be broken down and reused as easily (nor is it environmentally friendly by any means like cardboard is). Plastic also would weigh more and costs more to make than cardboard (considering cardboard is merely recycled paper).
Overall, it comes as no surprise that cardboard is the main material used for shipping goods locally, nationally, and internationally. We’re very likely to be seeing those classic brown boxes on people’s doorsteps for the foreseeable future. That is until we advance our technology or come up with a newer, cheaper, lighter, sturdier material, at least.
Think of cardboard as a super material. Even though you see it everyday, to the point that it’s become invisible to you and just another box laying up against the wall, it’s one of the most well-known and widely used materials the world sees daily. Considering it’s simply recycled paper, that’s pretty amazing.