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How is cardboard recycled?

We love cardboard at Boxtopia, and not just because we use it to make our boxes! Cardboard is one of the most widely recycled materials in the UK, with every local council able to collect and recycle from homes and many businesses.

With today marking the start of Recycle Week 2017 in the UK, we thought this would be a great opportunity to look at what is an incredibly important topic for the packaging industry.

Recycling cardboard is better for the environment in every way than making cardboard from new materials (‘virgin’ trees). Estimates vary on how much energy is saved by manufacturing cardboard from recycled materials, but the general consensus is somewhere between 25% and 50% saved. In addition, recycled cardboard means using between 70% and 100% less virgin material, and even up to 99% less water.

When manufactured in the UK, making cardboard from recycled material also saves on emissions from importing materials from overseas. The UK’s landmass is only about 12% forest and we can’t produce enough wood sustainably to manufacture the amount of paper and cardboard that we do. Recycling circumvents this problem, the materials already being in the country.

The cardboard recycling process

So what happens to the cardboard that you throw into the recycling bin once your bespoke Boxtopia box has done its job?

1. The cardboard is sorted and shredded

Cardboard needs some preparation before it can be recycled. The first step is sorting the different boards, with a distinction being made between boxboard (single-layer, like a cereal box) and corrugated (the kind we use for our single wall, double wall and die-cut boxes - two or more sheets sandwiching a creased layer).

Sorting is important because not all cardboard is created equally. Different types are made from different materials and processes, and those different types are only suitable to be recycled into certain products. Once it’s been sorted, the cardboard can be shredded into smaller pieces that work better in the later stages of the process.

2. It is mixed with water and pulped

The shredded material is poured into big tanks and mixed with water. This process, known as pulping, softens the cardboard and starts to make it into something that can be used as a material for new products.

3. The pulp is filtered

Waste cardboard is rarely 100% board. It nearly always gets mixed up with foreign materials like tape, staples and plastic packaging. A centrifugal systems are used to separate the various materials, based on weight. Magnets also help to remove metal items, however small.

Only after filtering is the pulp suitable to be stored for such a time as it is needed to make new cardboard in the future.

4. More water is added

When it’s required for manufacturing, the pulp is mixed with water again, pressed and stirred. This process helps get it to the right consistency for use further down the line. The length of this stage will depend on the kind of cardboard being manufactured and the materials being used. At this point, chemicals can be added to give the mix additional characteristics, like water-resistance.

5. The mixture is rolled and dried

At the start of this stage, the mixture can contain up to 90% water, so it has to be treated before it can turn into anything more useful. A range of techniques can help at this stage, including vacuum rollers, vibrating conveyor belts and steam heating.

Ultimately, pressing the sheet through rollers helps to turn the sheet into something starting to resemble paper. The rollers are also used to add additional layers to the cardboard, depending on how thick it needs to be.

6. Sheets are converted to new cardboard

The result of the process is huge reels of brown paper, weighing several tonnes. These can then be cut to size and layered to make thicker cardboard.

In the case of corrugated cardboard, the sheets for the central sections are taken through rolls with teeth rather than smooth surfaces, which gives them that crinkled, ridged shape, that will go on to provide additional strength to the kind of board that we use for our boxes.

The recycling processes can vary depending on the recycling plant and the paper factory, but the basic steps remain the same: sorting, shredding, pulping, filtering, drying, pressing and rolling.

We hope that gaining a little insight into how cardboard is recycled stops it being a mysterious, magical process and turns it into something that has a clear goal and benefit, both to the environment and to British industry. If your business doesn’t already recycle its cardboard, it’s never too late to start!

My Ebony Box making great use of die-cut boxes!

My Ebony Box use black die-cut boxes (FEFCO 0427) to send all kinds of products to their subscribers every month!


"My Ebony Box is the UK's first lifestyle subscription box for women of colour, the box was set up to help women embrace and celebrate themselves. Each month we wanted to provide our customers with a high box containing beautiful monthly self-care gifts that they were able to cherish and enjoy," explains Jenaitre Farquharson, managing director at My Ebony Box.


"When we launched we really struggled with finding a black mailer box we could be proud of to deliver to our customers until we discovered Boxtopia, their boxes are high quality, sleek and very strong. The quality of their boxes is incredible while still remaining very affordable in price. We are really pleased with Boxtopia and use them every month because not only are we happy with the quality but we are also extremely pleased with their fast turn around, friendly and professional customer service team."

If you're inspired by My Ebony Box and interested in our die-cut boxes, get in touch with us today to see what we can do for you!

Make more money on eBay with these 4 marketing tips

Our four eBay marketing tips are based on what former Harvard business school professor Theodore Levitt once said of marketing, that it views “the entire business process as consisting of a tightly integrated effort to discover, create, arouse and satisfy customer needs.” If you can put these tips into practice, it won't be long before you're making more money with the ecommerce giant.

Whether you sell products on eBay as part of a much larger ecommerce strategy, or just starting out as a hobby to make some extra cash, you can improve your chances of success by following these four marketing tips based on Levitt’s idea. 

1) Do your research

Whatever you’re selling, be it car parts, children’s toys, or anything in between, research what’s out there and what’s selling well. Thankfully, the level of specificity in eBay’s categories makes it easy to start. As you look for what’s already around in your niche, make a note of the kinds of titles and descriptions that you’re seeing.

Those two examples are typical of the results in the category ‘TaylorMade Cart Golf Club Bags’ - a very specific category, but important if that’s your industry. As you can see, the titles contain the brand name, the product name and the colour, while the descriptions go into a lot more detail on the various features.

To go back to Levitt, the research phase is about discovering existing needs. Another way of doing this is to go beyond the existing listings and look at the sold listings. Looking at the sold listings for TaylorMade bags, we can see that the vast majority of recent sales were second-hand bags from non-professional sellers that tend to be in the lower end of the price range that we saw in the current listings.

For sellers, sold listings crucially help you to learn more about what your audience wants to buy, so they can’t be ignored when you’re researching how to present your products on eBay.

2) Don't ignore advertising and promotion

In order to create needs, your audience needs to see products before they naturally arrive at your listings. This is how you reach a wider group of people than you might already. There are a number of ways to do this, and which one you choose depends on your available time and money.

If you’re selling as a hobby and you don’t want to put any extra resources into your activity, a good thing to do is simply to talk about your sold items on your social channels. Simply sharing on Facebook is an easy way to put your items in front of hundreds of people, and as they’re your friends they’ll likely pay more attention than they would to a regular ad. Keep it natural and unobtrusive (i.e. don’t post again every hour), and more people will naturally see what you’re selling.

If your eBay selling is an ecommerce business in itself (or part of one), it’s worth considering and trialling advertising. eBay’s product promotion works on a pay per sale basis, so it’s pretty low risk, and it increases the exposure of your products on the site. If you’re promoting a lot of products and increasing your sales as a result of the ads, the extra cost will be offset (if you’re not selling more, it’s not worth continuing). You can find eBay’s overview of their promotion service here.

3) Optimise your listings

If advertising is about creating needs in your audience, optimisation is about turning them into sales. By the time someone’s looking at your product listing they’re in a position where they’re willing to buy, and the quality of the listing is going to be a big factor in whether or not they part with their cash.

Your title, image, price, postage options and description all come into play when customers are making up their mind whether or not to buy. This is why it is so important to do your research and position yourself competitively in the first place.

Your descriptions are the easiest things to play around with. They should give the customer all the information about the product in a way that is interesting and compelling. Remember that you’re not only selling the product, but yourself as a seller. On eBay multiple sellers are competing to sell the same things, so let your viewers know why they should pick you. Are you offering fast or cheap postage? Do you have great reviews? Are there other deals they could get? These are all variables that you can leverage to convince viewers to buy your products right now.

4) Pay attention to existing customers

Returning customers are important sources of income that are often ignored. Sure, it’s important to attract new customers, but if existing customers have a good experience with your brand they’ll want to come back again. That’s why satisfying needs, Levitt’s final point, is so important.

At a basic level, it’s an absolute necessity that customers get what they’re expecting. Your product should be exactly as advertised in the listing. Beyond that, what can you do to make the customer feel valued, or to make your business feel different?

Something as simple as a handwritten thank you note is a nice touch, and who doesn’t love a freebie? You can often add something extra to a package without increasing the postage cost.

The packaging itself is also a crucial part of this side of marketing. Make sure your packaging reflects the quality of your brand - it should be the right size and strength to protect the product adequately, and it’s fun for customers to receive a package that looks nice.

If you give customers any reason to come back to your products, they will. That’s why satisfying the needs that you discovered back at the start of the marketing process is an essential part of increasing your long term success on eBay.

Where To Buy Cardboard Boxes?


It doesn't matter what you're shipping, we understand that finding the right shape, size, and type of box is just as important as the custom design. If you're at a loss as to which box you should use, don't panic. Here at Boxtopia we offer many options. If you don't see it, we can almost certainly create it.

The 0201
These boxes come to mind when you think of a traditional shipping box. With the right packaging materials, they can be used to ship almost anything. They require tape to seal along the middle at the top and bottom.


The 0203
Also a great choice, each flap folds completely over the other. This is ideal for those extra heavy items, as these won't bend as easily. 

The 0411 5 panel wrap

 Another popular choice, great for shipping items such as pictures and books, shelving and other long/shallow items.

Next Step: Take Your Packaging To The Next Level
We can offer our value in-house branding, making your boxes stand out from the crowd. The best part is that we have no minimum order quantity!! There are a few pointers to remember when choosing this type of print, but we think its great value for money.


In-house Printing


  • Available on standard 0201,0203 and 0411 styles
  • Our black only, in-house printing for two sides of the box (with the same size dimensions) is additional 10p per box or for four sides: 20p per box.
  • Maximum print area is 210mm x 70mm, allowing for 65mm before the first print
  • Print set charge is an additional one-off payment of £35
  • £35 is chargeable for each additional re-sizing of the logo.
  • £10 is chargeable for each additional box size where the logo remains the same size.
  • Artwork is to be provided by the customer.


Still confused about standard custom shipping boxes? Don’t see what you need? Want more information? Then give us a call or drop us an email, and we’ll find the shipping box solution that works for you.


The Original Surfboard Company & Boxtopia

TYPE 0411 AND 0409 WRAPS
Ever thought about using wrap packaging? They are mostly used for books, pictures, canvasses, shelving, lighting, and mirrors. Original Surfboards had another use.
(Photograph courtesy of The Original Surfboard Company)
The 2 main styles we manufacture, are the 0411 and 0409. As the name suggests, the packaging literally wraps around the product; the ends are tucked in and it can then be taped across the length.
The only difference between the two styles is that on the 0411 the ends meet in the middle, whereas on the 0409 they meet down the side.  
Measure the product; add a few millimetres for manoeuvrability or extra packaging; let us know the internal dimensions of the box and then we can make a bespoke box that fits your product exactly.

There are no minimum quantities and we can even provide print for your box. A great way of getting your message across and promoting your services.


We can also supply bespoke plain, printed, die cut and coloured boxes as well as stretch wrap. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Boxtopia through the enquiry form, via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us at: 01476576090 We look forward to hearing from you!

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Is there something you can’t find on the site, or do you have an enquiry regarding one of our products?

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