How Home Depot Saves 1.4 Million Trees Per Year Making Its Recycled Cardboard Boxes | The Making Of

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 fibers 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 fiber. The raw paper fiber 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 resistence
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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