Before COVID-19, the holiday season was marked by large family gatherings, big shopping trips and, of course, an increase in the need for brown boxes. This year, box demand for ecommerce has been on the rise since March—which means Santa is a bit late to the 2020 corrugated party.
Drive down almost any street in America and you’re bound to see them— brown shipping boxes (many made by Georgia-Pacific). They’re stacked up in apartment complex offices; slung on front porches and lining the back doors of many businesses. Ecommerce demand has tended to be more seasonal because of holiday shopping, but the last several years the seasonality has flattened somewhat as online purchasing has become more common throughout the rest of the year. The pandemic is also having an impact on demand. In fact, COVID-19 has created approximately a 30-40 percent increase in demand for boxes, as many are ordering online to decrease in-person shopping trips. Unlike the grocery store, there is no “paper or plastic” option in your online cart. These days, almost everyone gets a box (or a shipping envelope) and those home deliveries are expected to continue.
Georgia-Pacific has 40 operations in the U.S. dedicated to making brown paper (called containerboard) and converting that paper into boxes of all kinds. Watch this 1-minute video for some behind the scenes “How It’s Made” footage.
Just like Santa, GP has a workshop of their own, The Georgia-Pacific Innovation Institute®, located just outside of Atlanta. This is where scientists (a.k.a box elves) put corrugated boxes through a “packaging boot camp” for some of the world’s biggest retailers and e-tailers.
Santa’s sleigh is full of boxes this year—some of them are in their original packaging where possible and some are wrapped in customized graphics as a marketing technique. No matter how they get there or where they’re coming from, GP is ready to spread holiday cheer, especially when it comes in a box this year.
But Santa isn’t the only one looking for boxes. They are in high demand for many across the U.S., according to this “Marketplace” story by American Public Media. Click on the image below to read or listen to the full interview.
Much like the art of regifting, GP is focused on giving old boxes new life through recycling. Every year, Georgia-Pacific collects approximately 5 million tons of recovered paper products, or about 250,000 truckloads, from large retailers, grocery stores and residences for recycling. Last year, about 2.1 million tons of this paper consisted of old corrugated containers, or OCC as it’s known in the industry. And roughly one million tons of this OCC was ultimately turned into new paper for corrugated boxes at Georgia-Pacific mills.
Which means we’re ready to deck the halls (with boxes of course) for the 2020 holiday season. And, when it’s over, please make sure you recycle your boxes so we can turn them into new ones. Recycling is as easy as breaking down the box and putting in the recycling bin (see our colleague Tim below).