British households get 200 cardboard packages a year – piling up over 500 feet

British households are receiving more packages in cardboard boxes than ever before – taking in a whopping 500 feet of cardboard a year, the height of the Walkie Talking skyscraper in London.

A poll of 2,000 adults has revealed a huge growth in the amount of packaging we receive through our doors every year.

A typical household receives one large box, one medium-sized box, and two small boxes a week.

Based on typical Royal Mail parcel measurements, that stacks up to be 154 feet of small boxes, 104 feet of medium-sized boxes, and 255 feet of large boxes at their highest point.

Added together, it takes the total height to 513 feet – taller than Barclays Tower in Canary Wharf, but just shy of the 525 foot-tall Walkie Talkie building.

This figure of 513 feet would make the stacked-up boxes the twenty-ninth tallest building in the UK – ahead of the Elizabeth Tower in Castlefield, Manchester, and the JPMorgan Tower in London's Canary Wharf.

Andy Barnetson, spokesman for cardboard campaign group Beyond the Box, which commissioned the research, 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 we could be getting the height of 60 million skyscrapers’ worth of cardboard boxes thrown away each year.”

Encouragingly, 85% of those polled claim they always recycled the cardboard packaging they received through the post – although 13% admitted they only sometimes recycled.

Keeping rubbish out of landfill (63%), force of habit (55%), and wanting to reduce pollution (54%) ranked as the main factors behind why people recycled.

But it seems our appetite for deliveries doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon, as 59% are receiving more cardboard packages now than ever before.

The research, carried out by OnePoll, found convenience (79%), ease (56%), and saving a journey (45%) were the top reasons for opting for deliveries.

When it comes to the contents of those deliveries, presents (52%), clothes (49%) and electronics (37%) made up the top three.

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Also ranking highly were DIY and hobby equipment (35%), and books (34%).

There was also a willingness among 59% of adults to buy goods which come in eco-friendly packaging.

And it emerged that over two-thirds (68%) of adults want to see firms use less packaging, while 57% want items to be clearly marked as recyclable, and 48% would like more recycling bin pick-ups to help them on their journey to make the planet a better place.

The most confusing part about recycling for 75% was knowing what to do with certain materials – while more than half (52%) have a lack of understanding about why some plastics can’t be recycled.

And the vast majority (92%) of people feel personally responsible for their own waste and recycling.

Andy Barnetson added: “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.”


  1. Presents
  2. Clothes
  3. Electronics
  4. DIY and hobby equipment
  5. Books
  6. Shoes
  7. Homeware/decorative items
  8. Toiletries
  9. Cosmetics
  10. Food
  11. Kitchen utensils
  12. Pet food
  13. Large appliances e.g. refrigerator
  14. Food supplements
  15. Cleaning supplies

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