You Won't Believe How Many Trees You Can Save With A Box-Making Machine

May 7, 2014

If your company were to use a box-making machine like an EM-7 or and iQ Fusion, just how many trees would it save?

Questions like these can be hard to answer, because it depends a lot on what kind of boxes you make, where your corrugated cardboard comes from, and a host of other factors that can be tough to account for. But a good place to start would be to figure out how much MMSF (million square feet) your company uses. This can be tricky, especially if you use more than one size of box. We can help by offering a free box analysis. By looking at your historical box data, we can customize an On Demand Packaging® solution that:

  • Maximizes your corrugated yield
  • Reduces SKU count
  • Potentially saves your organization 35% in overall packaging costs

Now that we have a baseline idea of how much corrugated you use, there are two different ways to approach this equation: The number of trees that would have been used in the corrugated that was saved, and the number of trees that would have to be planted to offset the CO2 created by that saved corrugated. We’re going to look at both of these options.

Trees saved from unused corrugated

According to the EPA, recycling one ton of paper is equivalent to saving 17 trees. It should be noted that recycling one ton can also save “7 thousand US gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 2 barrels of oil, and 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity – enough energy to power the average American home for six months.”

We’re going to assume that not using one ton of corrugated is roughly equivalent to recycling one ton of paper, and that 20,600 square feet of corrugated cardboard weighs about one ton. Studies have shown that the average box is 40 percent empty space. On Demand Packaging® will help eliminate all of that space and save up to 20 percent of your corrugated costs. Doing a little bit of math, someone who uses 1 MMSF (million square feet) of corrugated can save up to 415,00 square feet of that with a box making machine, which translates to just over 20 tons of corrugated saved.

So the short answer is: you can save up to 342 trees for every 1 MMSF of corrugated you currently use by switching to On Demand Packaging®

Trees required to offset the corrugated Carbon footprint

Here is another way to look at trees saved: Trees absorb CO2, and planting them offsets some of the carbon dioxide footprint that we create with our operations. But how many trees would you have to plant in order for the offset to be equal to the CO2 saved by switching to On Demand Packaging®?

A tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide and year and can use 1 one ton of carbon dioxide by the time it turns 40 years old (source). It’s really hard to say how much CO2 a tree will absorb over the course of its life, since not every tree will live to adulthood, and the life span of those that do varies widely. So for the purposes of this exercise, let's say that 1 ton of CO2 saved is equivalent to planting five trees.

It takes 1.08 pounds of CO2 to create one pound of corrugated cardboard (which is actually really efficient—most other materials take a lot more CO2 to produce). And we already discussed that On Demand Packaging® can save up to 20 tons of corrugated. So where does that leave us…?

Using On Demand Packaging® is equivalent to planting 180 trees for every 1 MMSF of corrugated you currently use.

Of course, this doesn’t take into account void fill savings, or transportation savings created by packages taking up less space, so the actual savings could be much higher. It should also be noted that these numbers are all forecasts, since there are many variables that were not taken into consideration for the sake of simplicity.

This is just one of the many sustainability benefits our customers realize by switching to On Demand Packaging®.

That's some good horticulture

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