You may not have thought twice about cardboard boxes except to quickly grab and pack them for a move or to get your gear into your self storage unit. But Pratt Industries, the company that supplies all Public Storage boxes and box kits, is of course a bit obsessed—about quality and also about the environment. The boxes we sell in our stores are the product of 100% recycled paper and cardboard from Pratt and its “green-collar” employees. They are green products.
Pratt uses paper and cardboard from recycle bins around the country. In fact, every day the company converts more than 3,000 tons of this waste into 2,500 miles of new paper, enough to stretch from New York City to Los Angeles.
Through its partnership with Pratt, Public Storage also helps the environment, saving more than 68,000 trees in a year, for example, by selling the premium recycled instead of regular boxes.
The company also has its own electric plant, which converts diverted landfill waste into clean energy that not only powers its operations but also reduces greenhouse gasses. In all, Pratt’s processes save the equivalent of 51,000 trees, 21 million gallons of water and 12 million kilowatt hours of energy—every day!
To make the boxes, workers sort the used paper and boxes and use machinery to throw it into a giant vat with spinning blades, like an over-sized kitchen mixer. They add water to break down the material and convert it back to liquid wood-fiber pulp.
The pulp is then spread thin and baked at very high temperatures to form thick, brown paperboard. This is gathered and layered to become the airy corrugate center and outside walls of cardboard.
Finally, it is cut and glued into different box sizes we all use for moving and storage.
Do you have any recycling or box-packing tips? Please share!
by Ann Griffith