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Packing and Shipping Advise: Why reusing old boxes is not always economical

Packing and Shipping Advise

The cost of shipping items can get very expensive. This prompts many shippers to reuse old packing supplies such as boxes and envelopes to minimize expenses on packing materials. While the dumpster can be a great source of free boxes, using these found supplies is not always economical. We list down several reasons why you should think twice before re-using old boxes.

The strength and durability of old boxes may have been compromised. Having lost their integrity, they may not provide optimum support to your items. Remember that packages may undergo falls, bumps and rough handling during transit. Old boxes with weakened seams may tear and burst open when exposed to such impact.

Pre-used boxes may contain labels, stickers and bar codes that may cause confusion with shipping personnel as well as erroneous readings from automated scanners and machinery. They also make the package dirty-looking and unprofessional, definitely not a good thing when you want to set a good impression to your customers.

Depending on where you sourced you old boxes, these may be contaminated with bacteria, rodent droppings, insects or insect eggs, such as bed bugs, termites and lice, which can be potentially damaging to your items or hazardous to the recipient of the package. Remember, even one bed bug could result in a total infestation of an entire home, which could be yours or your recipient’s. An old box may also contain dirt, chemicals or odor from previous contents which may transfer to and/or ruin the new items being shipped.

Apart from saving on costs, re-using boxes is a great way to save and protect the environment. However, it may also lead to more expensive “accidents.” If you really have to re-use an old box, make sure that it is sturdy enough to provide protection and can withstand the rigors of shipping and does not contain any of the hazards mentioned above. If you worry about the environment, there are “green” boxes available at affordable prices which could be more practical than saving that old box made from non-biodegradable materials.

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