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T&DPI Magazine - Caps Cases sets UK precedent with corrugated polling booths

Caps Cases sets UK precedent with corrugated polling booths

Caps Cases has supplied recyclable corrugated cardboard polling booths for use in this week’s European elections in Cornwall – setting a precedent for other UK councils
The Suffolk-based corrugated fibreboard packaging manufacturer was approached by architects Harris McMillan to produce 700 corrugated cardboard polling booths for trial by Cornwall Council.

Their brief was to create a lightweight, innovative design that could accommodate four voters at a time and that could easily fit into the back of the presiding officer’s car.
Cornwall Council trialled the booths, alongside timber separations – one corrugated polling booth was supplied in almost every polling station in the county.

The day after the election, Dave Cunningham, Cornwall Council’s deputy elections manager, exclusively told Packaging News that initial feedback from staff and voters suggested the principal of lighter, cheaper, more sustainable booths was well supported.

“But we may have over-compromised on the design brief. We asked for these booths to be manufactured small enough for presiding officers to transport in their own cars. Initial feedback suggests the smaller size did not necessarily provide adequate privacy for voters.

“This was always a trial and now the design may have to be tweaked – the booths will have to be bigger and may have to designed for three or even two voters at a time.”
He explained that the initial design was aimed at completely cutting out the cost of logistics to deliver booths to polling stations throughout Cornwall.

But he expects a new design of the light-weight corrugated booths to still considerably reduce the costs of delivery.

He explained that Cornwall Council has a programme where it replaces 20% of old polling booths every year. Wooden booths are sturdy, but come with added expenses such as cleaning, maintenance, storage and delivery costs.
New plastic booths cost £85, while cardboard booths should cost around £10 if mass ordered.
Cunningham said he would await detailed feedback from staff and voters before moving ahead with a possible redesign brief.
Shaun Stamford, sales director at Caps Cases, said he was aware that cardboard booths are used in America and wanted to create a more contemporary design using corrugated fibreboard packaging.

“By creating a multi person unit we were able to offer a space saving, efficient solution.”
He told Packaging News several designs were considered before the smaller units were produced to fit in cars for transportation, and was eager to talk to Cornwall council on tweaking the design.

“We would welcome a new brief. We sent samples to nine other councils for them to assess. As councils look to replace old polling booths in the coming years, these booths have the potential to be mass-produced and delivered throughout the UK.”


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