The simple cardboard box, often ignored in favour of the contents it holds, is helping Canadians stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
To help keep goods moving around the country, millions more boxes are being produced in Canada to meet increased demand from online retailers, pizza shops, restaurants and grocery stores, said Allen Kirkpatrick, the executive director of the Canadian Corrugated and Containerboard Association.
“We couldn’t imagine a world without boxes, that might be hard for you to relate to, but in truth if you don’t have that box to move something, it just creates havoc everywhere,” said Kirkpatrick.
“Anything, whether it’s from the big people like Amazon or whether you’re picking something up curbside, that’s coming in a box.”
The association represents Canadian manufacturers of corrugated cardboard boxes.
Across the country, there are more than 50 manufacturing plants that either make the paper supplies needed to create cardboard boxes or produce the finished boxes themselves. Most boxes used in Canada are produced here and the materials for them largely come from domestic recycling programs, said Kirkpatrick.
Box producers were worried their industry would be shut down when COVID-19 restrictions took hold. But after contacting all levels of government, the industry was declared an essential service.
In March, the industry saw a seven per cent increase in demand, compared to that month a year ago.
“We supply the essential to the essential,” said Kirkpatrick.