• Every British household receives more than 200 cardboard boxes every year, with total deliveries for each household measuring up to the height of London’s Walkie Talkie skyscraper
  • Over 8 in 10 are green-minded citizens, recycling every cardboard box delivered to their home
  • Those not recycling are most confused about how to dispose of certain materials (75%), a lack of understanding about why some plastics can’t be recycled (52%) and councils having different rules (40%)

Every year, the average British household receives more than 200 cardboard boxes, stacking up to the height of London’s Walkie Talkie skyscraper[1], according to new research by cardboard campaign group, Beyond the Box.

Brits have seen an increase in deliveries, with six in ten (59%) agreeing that they are receiving more cardboard packages than ever before, taking in one large box, one medium sized box and two small boxes a week.

Added up, this number of cardboard boxes would stack up to 513 feet – taller than the Barclays Tower in Canary Wharf but just shy of the 525-foot-tall Walkie Talkie building. This height would create the twenty-ninth tallest building in the UK – ahead of the Elizabeth Tower in Castlefield and the JPMorgan Tower in Canary Wharf.

513 feet tall

With this influx of packaging, Brits are keen to stay green with over eight in ten (85%) recycling all their cardboard packaging. And three-quarters of adults say they now recycle more than at any other point, with a desire to keep rubbish out of landfill stated as the top reason why they recycle (63%), as well as it being a habit (55%) and the importance of reducing in pollution (54%) named as other important factors.

Andy Barnetson, spokesperson for cardboard campaign group Beyond the Box, said: “It’s fascinating to see just how many parcels and boxes we’re receiving through the post each year.

“The great news is that the vast majority of these boxes are recycled across Britain which means the fibres used to create cardboard can be reused again and again.

“It’s so important we all continue to do our bit to ensure we recycle where we can – as otherwise millions of skyscrapers’ worth of cardboard boxes could be thrown away each year.”

While the majority of people ensure they are recycling all their cardboard, half of Brits (49%) are sometimes confused about recycling rules. The top reasons included not knowing what to do with certain materials (75%), a lack of understanding about why some plastics can’t be recycled (52%) and councils having different rules (40%).

Ec0-minded Brits, as well as recycling, are keen to buy goods which come in eco-friendly packaging (59%). Consumers also want to see firms use less packaging (68%), have items clearly marked as recyclable (57%) and more recycling bin pick-ups (48%) to help them on their journey to make the planet a better place.

However, over half (51%) think that individuals are ultimately responsible for taking action on recycling, ahead of national governments (22%) and businesses (15%) and over nine in ten (92%) feeling personally responsible for their waste and recycling.

Andy Barnetson said: “There’s clearly an appetite among adults to recycle and do their bit for the planet.

“It’s really encouraging to see that as adults are receiving more deliveries than ever before, there is also a growing willingness to make sure their cardboard boxes are recycled.

“Sustainability at home is so important and with increased demand for cardboard boxes, we want to inspire the nation to think about their actions and the impact they can have.”

The research found convenience (79%), ease (56%) and saving a journey (45%) were the top ranked reasons why people opted for deliveries.

When it comes to the contents of those deliveries, presents (52%), clothes (49%) and electronics (37%) made up the top three. Also ranking highly were DIY and hobby equipment (35%) and books (34%).

[1] Based on the average household receiving one large box, one medium sized box and two small boxes a week and using average Royal Mail parcel measurements, this totals 154 feet of small boxes, 104 feet of medium sized boxes and 255 feet of large boxes at their highest point. Added together, this creates a total height of 513 feet.


Notes to Editors

Research of 2,000 Britons commissioned by Beyond the Box and conducted by OnePoll in August 2022.

About Beyond the Box

Bringing together experts from leading UK packaging companies, Beyond the Box, launched by the Confederation of Paper Industries, helps Britons learn more about the nation’s sustainable packaging choice: Cardboard.

Visit Cardboard.org.uk for more information.

For more information, including spokesperson requests, please contact Jessica Aldersley-Hey or Zak Coles at Richmond & Towers Communications:

jessica@rtc.london / 07783682122

zak@rtc.london / 07961788734