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Thinking Outside the Cardboard Box

Jay Cuthrell
May 20th, 2019 · 2 min read

Fudge Sunday

Now that China has said “no thank you” to scrap recycling imports, there is a good chance the familiar cardboard recycling bin will take on greater significance as the piles… continue to make a bigger pile. This week, let’s take a look at the humble cardboard box.

Humble Origins

Over the past 200 years there have been cardboard boxes big and small. The advent of global shipping and ever quickening supply chain technologies have only served to increase awareness of the cardboard box.

1200px Box agr
1817 - Cardboard is born


200 years of boxes.

From inception to meme took roughly 200 years for the cardboard box. Now, the cardboard box is a keystroke away to help us all express ourselves faster than ever before.

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2015 - The 📦 Package Emoji


You know you’ve made it when you are enshrined in a Unicode update.

Then again, by 2015, Amazon had become notorious due to a combination of expanding fulfillment options, smart phones, social media, and the seemingly unquenchable thirst for newly minted viral ready memes on the Interwebs.

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2015 - Amazon Packaging Memes


Warning: NSFW title on this link but then again… it kinda had a point.

Bring in the Robots

Amazon is no stranger to robotics. The early adoption of Kiva robots indicates that fulfillment efficiency is a journey for Amazon, not simply a destination.

2017 - CartonWrap 1000

Come for the concept. Stay for the soundtrack.

2018 - CartonWrap 1000 refinements

The soundtrack to your single click e-commerce future is slightly lower volume.

2019 - Commensurate Cardboard


Amazon is extending more robotics to refine another aspect of the toothbrush in gigantic cardboard box conundrum.

Recycling Innovations

Looking ahead, there will be more opportunities to reclaim cardboard boxes in ways that favor the paper industry as a whole. Growing more trees is a good idea by almost any accounting of renewable resources.

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2010 - The Sustainable Supply Chain


10 years later… where are we?

Creative ideas will emerge. Ideas that smell like success will likely succeed.

KFC firelogs
2018 - KFC Scent Infused Enviro-Log


Fingerlickin’ good ideas are just around the corner.

If anything, perhaps the days of the plastic water bottle will become a footnote as boxed water and bio compost ready packaging takes hold in consumer purchasing patterns.

So until next time, don’t print this newslestter…

But feel free to forward it via email to a peer.


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