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FEFCO Codes - know your Cardboard Boxes from your 0427s

No Comments    |    ,     |    March 10, 2023    |    Reading time 4 minutes
understanding FEFCO codes and cardboard boxes

You may have come across the FEFCO numbers before when ordering boxes, but did you know the FEFCO code system makes it easier for you to find the right box for any application?

The FEFCO codes provide a consistent way to describe the various types and styles of boxes. The codes group the most common corrugated cardboard boxes by design. Below we will explore what FEFCO codes are, how they work, and the advantages of using them.

What is FEFCO?

The FEFCO was established in 1952 in Brussels, hence the acronym is in French. It stands for the Fédération Européenne des Fabricants de Carton Ondulé though known usually as the European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers. It is a non-profit organisation that represents the interests of the corrugated cardboard industry across Europe.

What are FEFCO Codes?

FEFCO codes are a numerical system with diagrams that identify common corrugated cardboard box styles by their structural designs. For example, some boxes have flaps while others have separate lids. A box can be made from one piece of cardboard with a join, or it might be one piece of cardboard that is folded to form a box.

There are many variations, so in the 1960s the codes were developed to avoid confusion when buying and selling corrugated cardboard boxes. This was particularly to assist trading in different languages.

New codes are added from time to time as the corrugated cardboard box industry, and the market for cardboard boxes evolves creating new designs. In 2022 the 12th version was released with around 200 codes.

How the FEFCO Code System Works

In the FEFCO code system, there are usually four digits. The first two digits indicate the style or type of the box, and the second two digits indicate the specific design or variation within that style.

For example, the Regular Slotted Container has the FEFCO code 0201. The first two digits, "02," indicate the style - one piece of cardboard with a manufacturer's join and flaps top and bottom. The last two digits, "01," indicate that it has two flaps on the top, and two on the bottom, and that the flaps meet in the center when closed.

As a comparison, the FEFCO code 0203 is for a box of the same style but with flaps that fully overlap on the top and bottom.

0100 FEFCO code, for rolls of material such as corrugated cardboard or solid board, used for packaging purposes.
FEFCO 01 Cardboard rolls

In some cases, there may be slight variations of a particular style. This is shown by a suffix added to the original code, such as 0201.2 may be a version unique to an individual manufacturer.

A Brief Description of the 9 Basic FEFCO Styles

There are many different options, particularly when you go into all the specific designs and variations, but a good place to start is the 9 basic styles (the first two digits in the FEFCO code). This will give you an idea of how different cardboard boxes can be - and the need for the FEFCO code!

FEFCO 0201 - slotted cardboard box
FEFCO 02 - Cardboard Box


Commercial cardboard rolls and sheets - single face corrugated cardboard for packing and filler.


Slotted boxes - as in the example used above, these are made from one piece of cardboard with a manufacturer's join and flaps on the top and bottom. They are shipped flat, which can be a useful piece of information to know when ordering your boxes. We stock and sell a wide range of 0201 cardboard boxes here


Telescopic boxes - have separate top and bottom pieces, one which fits over the other.

Fefco 0320 2 piece  telescopic cardboard boxes
FEFCO 03 - Telescopic boxes


Folder boxes and trays - are made from one piece of cardboard with hinges to form the walls and lid. 


Slide boxes - as the name suggests they have a sleeve that slides, either as part of the box or as a sleeve to go over a box.


Rigid boxes - have separate pieces that unlike the other boxes need stitching before use – also good to know!


Ready glued boxes – are just one piece of cardboard that only require simple assembly but are shipped flat.

FEFCO 0427 pizza box style cardboard box
FEFCO 04 - Pizza Style Cardboard Box


Retail and e-commerce packaging – this category is for the common Point of Sale (POS) displays and trays, including for online trade.


Interior fitments – including liners, partitions, and dividers that fit inside a box (these can be part of a design above or separate items).

For the official and full descriptions, as well as useful diagrams to better visualise the boxes, check out the FEFCO code 2022, 12th edition.

The Advantages of Using FEFCO Codes

By adopting universal codes, the supply chain becomes more efficient and faster. You can see from the range that it could easily become confusing. That's where FEFCO codes come in. These codes provide a standardised language for producers, suppliers, and buyers, enabling them to work together seamlessly.

With a common code, once you have selected the type of cardboard boxes for your packaging needs, you know you are ordering the one you want from your supplier. It can save you time when reordering too. Using the right box can protect your items during shipping, cut down on waste and expenses, and enhance your overall product image, so it's important to get it right.

At The Packaging Club, we understand the importance of proper packaging. That's why we offer a broad range of cardboard boxes that exceed compression compression test standards. You can trust us to meet all your packaging needs.

So, now you know a bit more about FEFCO codes, and how different box styles and designs have their own unique FEFCO code. By using the FEFCO numerical system to identify the different styles of boxes, you can ensure that you are ordering the right box for your specific business needs.

This article was written by...

EJ Sinclair

I’m a research advisor and writer. I write on a range of topics, and I’m always interested in expanding my fields. My background and Masters degree are in aviation technology, which I can apply to an array of industries.My goal is to provide readers with interesting perspectives that are both informative and engaging.When I'm not writing or working, I like spending time with my family, reading good books, going on interesting walks with my dog, or exploring new cycling paths. Always looking up at the sky.

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