How Cardboard is Made

Chances are you have some cardboard lying around your house. Chances are, you’ve ordered a product online within the last week, or so that will arrive at your door in a cardboard box in a few days. The reality is that the world runs on cardboard. We use cardboard for so many different things on a daily business, and I don’t think there are enough people aware of this fact. We love cardboard because it is cheap and easy to make, easy to shape and form with, and relatively strong, and can hold up well in a variety of conditions. Making cardboard is no doubt a laborious process that involves great manufacturing at every step of the way, but I think it is important to know how things are made and what they are made from in order to get a better grasp on the reality we live in and the things we spend our money on. 

Have you ever thought about what cardboard is? Or how it’s made? I’m sure you think you do. You probably think you know all about cardboard. But in reality, you don’t. You are blind and ignorant to the ways of cardboard, and I will tell you why in this brief overview of one of the most versatile materials, along with the benefits that it brings to our lives.

In the first days of cardboard, developed by German Chemist Carl. F Dahl, simply involved pulping wood that was later used in the paper-making process. This advanced method of paper-making at the time was revolutionary in turning wood chips into paper strong enough not to split or tear. As we all know, cardboard is produced and manufactured by using fibers from trees and plants. The pulping process aims to break down the structure of the tree or plant fibers so that they are ready to be made into market pulp.

The next step in the cardboard-making process is to make the pulp into paper/board. First, the pulp is beaten, squeezed, and pounded in a large tube to make it easier to work with. Sometimes there are other materials added in at this step. Materials like chalks or clays are sometimes added to the pulp to change the opacity of the final product cardboard. The pulp is then fed into a large machine and squeezed through rollers to drain the water and then pressed between wool felt rollers and heated cylinders to be absolutely certain all of the water has been removed. Then the paper is made into what are called flutes, which are typically that liner filling stuff in between the plates of cardboard that you would find in your everyday run-of-the-mill cardboard box. 

Cardboard is great because it can be made into all sorts of different products and has limitless possibilities for shipping and production. Manufacturers love it, and so do consumers. Another benefit of cardboard is that it can be recycled and used again. There is still new wood used in the production of cardboard, but the pulp can contain recycled materials, which is extremely important for keeping cardboard out of landfills. Since we go through so much cardboard in our lifetime, make sure you are breaking down your boxes and recycling them whenever possible so that we can keep our earth clean for the next generation.