More than 95 percent of all products in the United States are shipped in corrugated boxes. Containers made from corrugated materials protect products both from external forces and are recognized for their strength and convenience. The first use of corrugated paper for packaging came in 1871, when an American, Albert Jones, introduced an idea of wrapping bottles and glass chimneys in it. It was the addition of a liner to one and then to the other side of corrugated paper that signaled the birth of corrugated boxes-- commonly known today as cardboard.
Walls of cardboard boxes consist of two main parts: linerboard (or facing) and corrugating medium (fluted paper). The flutes in the corrugating medium form a series of connecting arches. An arch with a certain curve can support many times its own weight, especially when the ends of the arch are anchored. In corrugated containers, they are anchored to a facing. A vertical sheet of linerboard, used as the skin or facing, can support a weight greater than itself if it is held in place. Most linerboard is produced using softwoods, which have the longest fibers, and produce the strongest paperboard. The fluted corrugating material helps it stay in place, while the facing, in turn, protects the flutes from damage.
Corrugated is designed to be stacked, to withstand top and side pressure, and is crush resistant. It is impact, drop, and vibration damage-resistant, and can be customized for added protection.
Despite its strength, corrugated containers are also relatively lightweight and they can be broken down for easy transport. Moreover its surface can be cut and folded into an infinite variety of shapes, and printing can be directly applied to its surface.
Corrugated containers are made from a renewable resource. In 2008 more than 80% of corrugated containers were recovered for recycling.