The Future of Corrugated Packaging Industry Looks More Promising Than Ever!


Image of cardboard box

Among various techniques in paperboard packaging, corrugated boards sit at the top. It serves as the best among packing boards to promote, protect and pack products. Corrugated board is formed out of containerboard composite, which in turn represents three sheets paper. The intervening layer of the corrugated board is fluted or constructed in a wave shape and is called the corrugating medium. The sheets of paper on the outer surface are known as liner board.

The Uses of It

Corrugators or flute lamination machines are used for the construction of corrugated fibreboard. Corrugated boards and Echo Cartons are largely used in packaging solutions for consumer goods. They are also used in making shipping containers. However, the corrugated board finds application only in peculiar areas, and that has a limiting effect on the progress of the industry. The larger application areas cover healthcare, food, beverages, home care, glass industry, cosmetic products, fruits, some types of perishables, etc. Education, carrier and freight, stationary and construction are some of the other areas where corrugated boards find the application. Corrugated boards are also used in making cardboard boxes for multiple applications.

The Global Market

Image of a world map

The global demand for corrugated packaging is perking up, particularly in the wake of an increased awareness of environmental concerns. Corrugated boards can be easily recycled, and this will act as a huge advantage for the industry in the days to come.

With the rising health awareness among consumers and a preference for packaged food, the market for corrugated packaging is expected to witness a healthy growth over the next few years. Online business and changing lifestyle are among other factors that would positively impact the segment. However, strict regulations from the government on landfill contamination could act as a drag on the growth of the industry.

Although the market for corrugated packing is segmented based on application, food and beverages segment leads the market.
In terms of market share, Europe leads the globe because it has the highest rate of paper recycling. Apart from this, developing countries are struggling to get their carbon footprints lower leading to further growth in the market for corrugated packaging.

The rate of paper recycling in China is also going up. Governmental support for supplying corrugated package for reduction waste product accumulation is another beneficial factor for the industry.

The Global Consumption

Image of stacked cardboard boxes

Volume consumption for the industry between 2009 and 2015 grew on an average by 4.3% per annum, but this could peg down to about 3.6% per annum between 2016 and 2021 since the sector is expected to be impacted by a combination of various factors over the 5 year period. However, end users consumed 128.6m tonnes of corrugated packaging during 2015 valued at over $222bn for converters. In 2021 this consumption will edge up to 180m tonnes.

The growth in this region is in part, attributed to the government in China embarking on a mill closure program to get rid of inefficient and outdated paper machines in the market and instead shift focus t fluting machines and liner board with width below 2 metres and speed less than 80 meters per minute.

Dominic Cakebread of Smithers Pira added that volume growth would continue to be positive. Though consumption in the main Asian markets may peg down, and some reduction in the overall global trade growth may be seen with countries like North America becoming more protective.

Per capita consumption of consumer goods and beverage witnessed rapid growth in some of the Asian markets between 2009 and 2015 including India, China, South East Asia and internet sales, apart from a robust world trade.

The report states further that China leads the world in the production of consumer goods and much of this production is exported to global destinations in corrugated packaging. China’s market share has grown from 22% in 2009 to 29% in 2015 and could reach 36% in 2021. In contrast, Europe’s share of the global market shrunk to 14.8% in 2015 from 16.5% seen in 2009. The UK consumed 1.8m tonnes during 2015 and was the 16th largest market by nation globally. This volume accounted for a tad above £2bn. Further, with internet shopping picking up steam, the corrugated market is witnessing a spate of innovations to combat the challenge of ‘frustration free’ packing – says the report. The report adds that continuous growth of internet shopping is necessary for the corrugated packing industry with internet sales growing over traditional sales aided by the sustained proliferation of global internet accessibility as well as rapid growth of smart devices.

For the period between 2016 and 2021, the electrical industry is expected post the highest growth in percentage terms while processed foods market will see the largest incremental demand.

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Here Are 7 Useful Ways to Utilise Cardboard Packing Boxes!


Image of stacked cardboard boxes

Packing boxes are a must when it comes to moving efficiently and without too much fuss. You can purchase packing boxes designed for specific purposes to move and protect them as best as possible, such as those for artwork. When moving, it is ideal to have boxes in just a couple of standard sizes to make packing and the removalists’ jobs easier. The boxes can be expensive, and after the move, you’re left wondering what to do with them. So, what can you do with them?


If the boxes haven’t been damaged during your move or when opening them, they can be kept for successive moves. Alternatively, you can sell them second-hand, or give them away. Sometimes the business you purchased the boxes from will purchase them back from you at a fraction of the price. If you are environmentally-minded, you can also opt to recycle the boxes. These are all very practical options, but they can be used in much more creative ways. We show you how!

Kids craft and toys


Craft is an excellent way to achieve relaxation, especially after a big move! It’s also a great way for you to bond with your children. Laid flat, the cardboard also makes a great protective surface while your children are doing creative projects. The flattened cardboard can make a great painting canvas for yourself or your littlies.

Cubby house or fort

I’m sure this will be the kids’ favourite use for those leftover boxes! Using the largest boxes in any manner you choose, design a temporary fort or cubby. You can simply stack them and tape them together, or create a more elaborate design by carving out a castle-like top and entry door.

Home décor

Photo frames

If you’ve got a steady hand, cutting out photo frames from the boxes is a really easy DIY project. You can decorate the frames in any manner you choose – paint, paper – you’re only limited by your imagination!

Memo boards

It’s best to use a large box for this, so you only need to use one of the sides and don’t have any fold lines to contend with. Cut out a large rectangle (or another shape if desired) and paint. It is great for the kitchen; you can stick to-do notes, kids’ artwork and shopping lists to it. Alternatively, stick lots of your favourite photos to it. Your kids may want one in their rooms too.


This is an idea for the more adventurous crafter! Shape into your desired shape by cutting and taping. Pad with quilt batting and cover it with your chosen fabric. Staple the fabric to secure it. No one else will have one like it!

Home storage

Image of cardboard storage box

Use for items you don’t generally need access to, or want to store in the roof or cupboards for example. Alternatively, by cutting off the box flaps, you can stack boxes on their sides on top of each other, to make an easy shoe wardrobe. Feel free to decorate it if brown cardboard isn’t to your taste!


Any smaller boxes you have may come in handy for gifts. Use them to hold a selection of gifts for the one person and decorate it accordingly. Alternatively, if you need to post gifts to your loved ones, moving boxes provide great protection and mean you won’t have to purchase another box at the post office.

Home office

Have a home office? Or just a lot of paperwork? Maybe a collection of photo albums? No problem! Packing boxes make an alternative to archive packing boxes. You can store all your important documents and files in them. You can even decorate them to match the décor of your office so that they add to the atmosphere, rather than a clutter of files which detract from it.


Planter box

Line a box with plastic such as from a garbage bag and your moving box becomes an instant planter box. Be sure to decorate it and maybe even carve out some handles from the flaps of the box for some designer edge.


Your cardboard boxes can also help your compost bin along (not all at once, though!) Try to use around a 50/50 mix in your compost bin of brown material and green material.

Weed preventer

A lot of people use newspaper to line the ground with before they add new wood chip or mulch to their garden beds. Cardboard boxes are an even better alternative! Being thicker, they will last longer, preventing those nasty weeds from ruining your fresh landscaping. This is an environmentally-friendly option because the cardboard naturally decomposes over time.

This should give you plenty of ideas for what to do with those leftover packing boxes.

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