- Home Depot sells 75 million moving boxes each year and has the largest market share of moving boxes.
- We visit a paper mill in Staten Island, NY, to see how Home Depot makes its iconic cardboard boxes from recycled paper.
The following is a transcript of the video:
Narrator: If you’ve ever moved out of an apartment or house, chances are you’ve encountered one of these boxes. It’s not surprising since Home Depot has the largest market share for moving boxes, selling 75 million of them each year. Home Depot boxes are made exclusively by Pratt Industries at five different paper mills in the US. What may surprise you is that the whole process begins at your front steps. First, recycled paper gets picked up from the city curbs and brought to the Staten Island paper mill by barge or truck.
John: One thing that is very significant about our business overall is that we only make things out of recycled material, we don’t make anything at all out of virgin trees.
Narrator: Then there are six main steps in turning recycled material into a corrugated box. So once the recyclable paper has been unloaded, a large crane then comes down and lifts it and puts it up into the pulper. The easiest way to explain this is if you think about a regular washing machine where you have an agitator in the middle, we put the recyclable paper in there, and then it’s agitated along with warm water to separate the fibres out. Narrator: Once the paper is broken down into pulp, it goes through several screening-and-filtering processes to remove impurities such as ink, plastic, rubber, and styrofoam. What’s left is a very clean, raw paper fibre. The raw paper fibre is then pressed and vacuumed into paper and then turned into a 35-ton paper roll. Three separate rolls of paper are run through a corrugating machine to create a corrugated board. There are two outsides and a wavy center. The fluted middle is what gives the boxes their crush resistance and stacking strength. The corrugated sheet is then cut into three different widths depending on the size of the box, and each box is stamped with Home Depot’s iconic logo. Lastly, the box is glued and shipped off to be folded into a finished box.
John: Arguably one of the most common things that’s just so in the background, no one ever pays any attention to it, but there’s almost nothing that doesn’t arrive at your store or your door one way or the other in some kind of corrugated box, and so you know, if you think about purely with the rise of e-commerce, it’s just becoming more and more common, and so it’s great to be able to do something productive with that and turn it back into a usable product. Our program through the Home Depot saves about 1.4 million trees a year and then 570 million gallons of fresh water. The recycle process uses one-third of the amount of water that a regular process would use.
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