Cardboard boxes

last updated : 2020/05/17
Code Description Budget Price Ship. weight Ship. vol.
CARTON BOX, 282x226x195 mm,2 cann.Fefco 0201,T34 BC CH 1.40 0.45kg 14,4L Add
CARTON BOX 490x340x290mm double corrugation, heavy duty CH 1.50 0.98kg 6L Add
CARTON BOX-Dims.ext. 480x300x433mm,2 handles,1fold,2 can.7mm CH 3.60 1.53kg 10L Add


General information

  • Carboard boxes are used to maintain the original quality of the goods and protect them from external influences and damage during transport and storage. Large quantities are used for individual or family parcels.
  • There are many varieties of carboard available on the market, of different qualities regarding strength or water resistance. Specifying the required quality is an essential element in any procurement contract.
  • The quality and the thickness of the cardboard, plus the quantity, type and height of the sheets and of the corrugations will determine the final strength of the box. Different types of folding also may increase the strength (i.e. double vertical walls).
  • A cardboard box is made of at least three components: two outer liners of paper plus a central sheet with grooves and ridges (called flute). The flutes range from 0.8 – 1.6 mm (sizes E and F) to 3.2 - 4.8 mm (sizes B and A). Adding fluting sections and paper layers increases the strength of the box. One additional flute layer and liner, makes the box “double walled” or “3 ply”, with a further section, it is called “tri-wall” or “5 ply”. Different combinations of flute sizes between layers are also commonly used to increase both strength and padding.
  • 2 types of paper are used: Kraft and test liner paper. Kraft paper is manufactured from softwood trees, it is stronger and easier to print on. Test paper is a recycled product which is less strong and commonly used only for the inside layer(s).
  • Dimensions of the boxes should match the contents as much as possible, they will also take into consideration the size of a standard pallet, and the crossing possibilities between layers when stacking the boxes on the pallet. Crossing layers will ensure safer loads, and a more efficient use of loading space in trucks and containers.
  • No overhang is allowed when stacking boxes on pallets.
  • The type of corrugated board boxes must also be defined in Purchase contracts. The most common is the regular slotted container box (RSC), where all flaps are of the same length and the two outer length flaps are one-half the width and meet at the center of the box when closed.
  • Effective closure of the boxes is paramount, following methods are commonly used: gluing, taping, stapling or strapping. These can be used in combination.
  • Carboard is not suitable for use in prolonged wet/very humid conditions. There are different ways of protecting the carton from water, usually by impregnation of the external layer. Paraffin coated cartons are difficult to tape, as the paraffin will not permit the glue to adhere (strapping recommended).
  • The major constraint in the use of cartons is their stacking in very high piles, and their resistance to multiple handling from point of packaging to point of distribution.
  • Logos and texts are usually requested to be printed directly on the natural brown colour carton. A white coating will significantly increase the price of the box.
  • Suppliers involved in the provision of food items are responsible for ensuring the quality, safety and hygiene of the food items, but also of the packaging they use. EU Regulation (1935/2004/EG) for food contact materials and (EU Regulation 2023/2006) on good manufacturing practices during the manufacturing of packaging intended for food from corrugated board will be adhered to.
  • Numerous standardized testing procedures exist for corrugated board boxes. Check with your Quality Control team for practical testing methods for testing quality of boxes prior to any large purchase in the field.

As an illustration, below are the requirements for boxes to contain Hygiene Kits as purchased by the ICRC.

Specifications (example for Hygiene kits)

Corrugated board box

Manufactured from a strong BE flute (approx. 3.8 - 4.5 mm) double wall board, 5 ply. Min 750g/sqm (GSM)

Cardboard type

KRAFT paper


All items of the kit to be securely packed together in one strong cardboard box, to prevent any damage to the content, crushing of the box or goods dispersion


Box dimensions should exactly match the contents, all remaining empty spaces to be filled up with bio-degradable material to prevent crushing during transport or damage to the content

Box resistance test

Sealed box with its content must withstand the equivalent weight of a pile of the same box at the foreseen height. The equivalent weight is placed for 12h on a wood board on the box. The wood board size exceeds the box size by at least 20mm on each side. The box is placed on a standard pallet, in a corner. When the specific pile height is unknown, the standard height is 4m.

Example: a box of gross weight 12kg, foreseen pile height is 4m, height of the box is 0.25m. The box must withstand the weight of 11 identical boxes (4m divided by 0.25m, minus one box). This box will be tested with 132kg (11 x 12kg).


Adhesive tape with minimum width of 48mm on the length of the carton, or staples

Extra boxes

3% empty cartons will be supplied to replace damaged cartons

Item packaging

All kit content contained in the box to be individually packed to avoid leakage or pollution to any other item contained in the box.


  • Washing powder to be packed with one additional strong outer plastic bag
  • Napkins not to be in contact with any other element
  • Tooth paste tubes and all liquid containers to be properly sealed

Latest update: 17/05/2020

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