How should cardboard be recycled?

Broken down cardboard

All individuals, institutions, and businesses should recycle cardboard, with a few exceptions. In fact, according to earth 911, it has one of the highest recycling rates of any paper products. Our recycling centers are ready to receive your properly prepared cardboard and other recyclables. 

Cardboard Exceptionnon-recyclable items

The biggest reason that cardboard should not be recycled is due to food waste, and we are not just talking about the grease leftover from the pizza you ordered (but don’t recycle those either). Grease and oil are bad news for the recycling process of cardboard since the process uses water, and as we remember from science class, oil and water do not mix.

Another exception is waxed coated cardboard materials. These include things like disposable coffee cups and drink cartons.

Cardboard Recycling Preparation

  1. Keep it dry: Once cardboard comes in contact with water, it becomes challenging to recycle. With that in mind, keep it dry.
  2. Break it down: Use a pair of scissors or a knife to cut the seals and help flatten cardboard boxes as much as you can. By breaking down your cardboard, you will conserve space as you store them and make them easier to transport.
  3. Remove plastic and other contaminants: Since most of the cardboard recycled comes from shipping boxes, make sure you remove all packing materials, these include plastic, polystyrene, and other pollutants from your cardboard before recycling.
  4. Establish a system: Create a system to collect cardboard effortlessly and quickly before you just toss it in the trash.
  5. Store responsibly: As noted, water ruins the recyclability of cardboard so storing it in a clean, dry place is essential. We would recommend a closed topped recycle bin.
  6. Store strategically: You cannot recycle any cardboard that contains grease or other contaminants. One option would be to cut out the stained area and recycle the part that is not soiled or stained.
  7. Reuse it: If you are planning on shipping something, why not reuse those shipping boxes? Remove all labels and save your self some money. Another option is if you have other recyclables such as newspapers, glass, plastic, etc.–use boxes to transport them to the nearest drop-off center.
  8. Take it outside: You don’t have to recycle all your cardboard in the traditional sense of the word. Cardboard is useable in a variety of ways. It can be used in the garden or as you compost. Talk with your office’s landscaping company and see if they would be interested in using the cardboard as mulch, or you can donate it to a compost facility.

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