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Cardboards on Clothing Shipping Boxes: Do We Really Need Them? #Sustainability on Textile Logistics

In the B2B/E-Tailer apparel production sector, a common practice in sustainable textile logistics is to include a cardboard sheet on top of the boxes for product protection during delivery to warehouses.

Why? Because simple cutters are used to open the boxes, and this task is often done by rushing people, which can result in the knives damaging the products within the boxes. However, this practice not only reduces the box capacity by 1.2% but also adds extra costs for the additional cardboard and, most importantly, causes extra CO2 emissions, impacting our sustainability efforts by reducing the box capacity.

We were surprised to find that many of our customers mandate these extra cardboard sheets without questioning their necessity. While product protection is crucial, there are more sustainable solutions available.

AEM Textile's Infographic on Sustainability on Textile Logistics

Calculate the impact of extra cardboard sheets on our carbon footprint and costs as a part of our Sustainability on Textile Logistics vision.

Let's consider a UK-based brand sourcing from Turkey, handling around 20,000 boxes of products annually, and compare the impact with and without the extra cardboard sheets:

  • Shipping distance from Turkey (TR) to the UK: Approximately 3,000 km.

  • CO2 emissions per ton-kilometer for road freight: 62 grams of CO2 (0.062 kg CO2).

  • Weight of a cardboard sheet: Approximately 0.2 kg per sheet.

  • Reduction in box capacity: 0.6%.

  • Weight of a shipping box: Approximately 12 kg (40x60x30 cm).

  • Number of boxes per year: 20,000.

  • Shipping cost: 1 box = 30 GBP (approximately 35.5 €).

  • Cost of a cardboard sheet: 0.04 GBP (approximately 0.05 €).

Additional weight due to cardboard: 20,000 boxes × 0.2 kg/box = 4,000 kg

CO2 emissions due to cardboard sheets: 4,000 kg × 3,000 km × 0.062 kg CO2/ton-km = 744 kg CO2

Total cost of cardboard sheets: 20,000 boxes × 0.04 GBP/box = 800 GBP

Let’s look at the environmental impact:

For a brand that buys 20,000 boxes per year, here is the comparison of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2) with and without using cardboard sheets.

Sustainable Solution:

We recommend using a smart box opener, which costs less than 9 USD. This tool ensures safe and easy opening of boxes without the need for an additional cardboard sheet, maintaining box capacity and enhancing our sustainable logistics practices by reducing unnecessary material usage.

Benefits of Using the Smart Box Opener:

  • Maintains full box capacity, optimizing shipping efficiency.

  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating unnecessary cardboard.

  • Lowers shipping costs by maximizing the number of products per box.

  • Provides a safe and efficient way to open boxes, protecting products without extra packaging material.

At AEM Textile, we are dedicated to sustainable textile practices that benefit both our customers and the environment. By rethinking the use of cardboard sheets in shipping, we can make a significant positive impact on our carbon footprint and overall sustainability.

Get Involved:

  • What steps have you taken to improve sustainability in your supply chain?

  • Have you faced similar challenges with product protection during shipping?

  • Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!


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