The Role of Paperboard in Agriculture

Published on Tue, Apr 19, 2022 4:00 PM GMT

Paperboard, in particular corrugated cardboard and chipboard, is amongst one of the most versatile materials for packaging solutions and can be tailored to fit the standards of all types of industries. One industry in which paperboard dominates as a packaging preference is the agriculture industry.


The Many Versatile Usages of Paperboard in Agriculture

Both on and off the farm, farmers turn to paperboard (corrugated cardboard and chipboardin particular) to fulfill their needs in improving crop production and the process in which their produce reaches customers.


Usage of Cardboard in Organic Farming

To enhance the growth of products and improve the quality of farmland, farmers incorporate cardboard into their farming processes before their products are even packaged and sent to market.

Cardboard serves as an excellent material for mulch sheets for use by organic gardeners, farmers, and ecological landscapers to support the production and handling of organic crops. The usage of brown corrugated cardboard, in particular, is compliant with organic standards and certification and is advocated by the ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture Program, a program developed by NCAT (US National Center for Appropriate Technology). Used to suppress weeds in organic crop production, mulch made from cardboard is placed around plants, helping retain moisture and adding organic matter to soil as it decomposes. Mulch also regulates soil temperature by acting as an insulation layer and reduces the amount of time spent watering. Brown cardboard sheet mulch biodegrades quickly (within three months) and presents no threats to the health of soil and its organisms.  


Usage of Cardboard in Combating Soil Erosion

With the rapid growth and aggressive impacts of climate change, many farmers are being hit with environmental barriers to their agricultural productivity. In the last few years, more and more farmers are forced to search for ways and means of treating soil erosion as unpredictable and harsh weather occurrences become more prevalent. 

Arising from long periods of drought followed by heavy rainfall, soil erosion occurs when fertile topsoil and seeds are flushed away before germination takes place. This prohibits the growth of vegetation and makes it even more difficult for water to penetrate the baked soil moving forwards.

Dutch designer Thom Bindels is one of many innovative individuals proposing the usage of cardboard as a solution to combat soil erosion on farms.

Ecosystem Kickstarter was introduced by Bindels as a honeycomb-shaped cardboard frame intended to help farmers grow crops in degraded soil. Inspired by farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and their anti-erosion practices, the mechanism is a simple, modular, cardboard system that is lodged in a slope of degraded soil. This terraced structure then helps prevent the runoff of seeds and nutrients in rainwater. Ecosystem Kickstarter (or Ecokick) also biodegrades and grows a strip of “perennial terracing vegetation” when it does so since the cardboard is enriched with seeds and nutrients.

The manufacturing process of the prototype involves a large sheet of cardboard being folded into the honeycomb structure, adding six holes to the sides, and adding smaller holes on top of the fold to allow seeds to grow their roots and sprout through the top. Fertilizer is then applied to the bottom of the cardboard strip and seeds are prepared on a strip that is placed between the cardboard layers.

Using Ecosystem Kickstarter, farmers restore their farmland’s nutrients and soil activity before meeting an ecological threshold. Cardboard is a vital component of this solution, allowing farmers to resume their farming practices despite unforgiving environmental circumstances.


Usage of Cardboard in Packaging and Transportation

Besides its benefits in improving farm efficiency, the most common usage of cardboard for farmers is for its versatility, convenience, and sustainable advantages as a packaging solution. Corrugated cardboard boxes are low-cost, easy to assemble, lightweight, and convenient to stack. As a carbon-rich, biodegradable material, choosing to use cardboard boxes is one of the most environmentally and sustainably conscious decisions a farmer can make.

Large corrugated and chipboard slip sheets, layer pads and rolls of single face corrugated are also irreplaceable in the transportation of products.  Chipboard or corrugated sheets can be placed under, in between, or on the top of boxes, bags or loose packed produce that are placed on pallets. This allows the protection from dirt, dust, water, and the puncture of often protruding nails on skids. These sheets also stabilize the load from tipping and reduce the risk of damage when stacking skids on top of each other. Agricultural companies line the walls of their containers with 84" wide rolls of single face sorrugated to prevent their bags from being punctured and ensure their food-grade products don't come into direct contact with the container itself. 


About Hammond Paper

At Hammond Paper, we help provide paperboard solutions for all your agriculture-related needs.  Operating out of Vaughan, Ontario, Hammond Paper Company has been a reliable source for environmentally friendly paperboard and protective packaging solutions in Canada for over 25 years.   We believe that everyone should do what they can to protecting the environment and our fragile ecosystem.     

Whether you need custom cardboard, other paperboard products or packaging, or just off-the-shelf protective packaging supplies like slip sheets, dividers, layer pads, corrugated sheets or rolls, corner posts or even pallet wrap, Hammond Paper can help in an environmentally sustainable way. 


Contact us anytime at (905) 761-6867 or to talk about how we can help you, and the planet.