Folding boxes help reduce CO2

By adopting multi-use collapsible boxes, a company can improve its carbon footprint. As reusable containers, they offer an alternative to multiple disposable single use containers and save CO2 on the return transport.

Collapsible boxes, widely used by companies in the food industry, offer many advantages when it comes to sustainability. Collapsible boxes can be re-used numerous times and, due to their strength, can easily withstand hundreds of transport cycles, thereby offering an alternative to using multiple disposable containers.  Another key advantage is their ability to reduce volume (1) when not transporting goods. Folding boxes save 75% of the space needed for return transport on a truck and in the warehouse. This means that on the way back, they also cause only a quarter of the emissions caused by burning truck fuel. In summary, companies are making a very good choice in using recyclable folding boxes if they have the goal of reducing their carbon footprint. 

Use of recycled material saves CO2

In addition to CO2 reduction due to their collapsibility, if the containers are made from recycled material, CO2 reduction can be even more reduced (2). A prerequisite for saving emissions are functioning recycling cycles and new recycling technologies. Since some companies have perfected the complicated plastic recycling (mainly of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP)) and the admixture of additives (fillers, additives, etc.) to achieve certain properties, recyclates can also be used nowadays. The production of recyclates saves large amounts of energy and emissions compared to production from crude oil. The containers or the hinged boxes are ground at the end of their life cycle and new articles are then produced from the ground material. 

Advantage of reusable containers over disposable containers

According to a study by the Fraunhofer Institute, the use of reusable plastic containers in the transport of goods can achieve a reduction of up to 60% in CO2 compared to single-use cardboard containers. The study "Carbon Footprint of Packaging Systems" (3) compares the CO2 emissions of transport in single-use cardboard containers (CB) and reusable plastic containers (RPC) according to ISO 14040/44. The entire life cycle of both packaging systems is considered over production, use and end of life. The reusable, collapsible plastic containers emit only 15 tons of CO2 equivalent during their life cycle, whereas the disposable cardboard containers emit more than 37 tons of CO2 equivalent. To provide the same transport service, the reusable plastic containers thus save about 60% of CO2. However, to fully achieve the savings with reusable container usage, the cycle of recycling needs to be correctly adhered to and properly closed (4). 

CO2 reduction through volume-reduced return transport

The volume-reduced return transport of the folding boxes (75% space saving) also reduces the emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gases enormously. This means that four times as many folding boxes can be transported on one truck loading area during the return transport. The total consumption of energy as well as the CO2 emissions of the truck are thus accounted for by four times as many boxes compared to non-folding standard containers. The relative CO2 balance of the folding boxes is thus 75% better on the return journey. 

EQ Folding boxes

EQ collapsible containers are made from recyclable polypropylene (PP). In addition to the volume saving in a ratio of 1:4 during storage and transport, the EQ folding boxes (1) have a choice of handle style - open or fold up handle grips. The fold up handles and the folding mechanism have been ergonomically designed for comfortable handling. The containers have a standard 600 x 400mm euro size footprint, making them suitable for optimized pallet handling and use on conveyors. To make them quieter when used in conjunction with automation and conveyors, they are also available with a ribbed or double base. The robust containers are not only food-safe but also temperature-resistant (-20 to +80 degrees Celsius). EQ folding boxes, are available in 2 heights, and standard colours are blue & grey or orange & grey. 


1 BITO EQ folding boxes, Link 

2 Recycling contributes significantly to CO2 savings, Recycling Magazin, Link 

3 Study "Carbon Footprint of Packaging Systems", Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP on behalf of the Stiftung Initiative Mehrweg, December 2017, Link 

4 BITO expertise, Plastic recycling of industrial containers is becoming increasingly important, Link 

You may also be interested in the following topics

BITO Newsletter