The process of manufacturing cardboard packaging is very resource intensive and requires a lot of energy and water. If waste cardboard is not wet or stained with oil or grease, it can be recycled many times. Some types of cardboard are not recyclable – so how do you know one from the other? Here are some ways you could recycle cardboard properly.
Tips on recycling cardboard
Essentially, there are two types of cardboard: corrugated, which is used to make packing boxes; and paperboard, which is used to make cereal cartons, shoe boxes and other packaging materials. Over 70% of the time, waste cardboard can be recycled. Recycling centres require that the boxes be flattened before being taken to the recycling centre. Items such as labels, staples and tape are removed before they are processed into new material.
Not all waste cardboard is recyclable. These include food containers such as pizza boxes which may have grease splotches. Grease makes it hard to recycle this biodegradable material. Cardboard cartons coated with wax such as juice and milk cartons also cannot be recycled easily.
How consumers can help
Many cities have recycling centres which take all types of recyclable materials. To expedite the recycling process, remove plastic, Styrofoam and other materials before putting out flattened boxes in a recycle bin.
If the recycling centre is far away, then start in the neighbourhood and collect as much as possible. It is easy for one or two people to collect waste cardboard and other materials and drop it off at the facility. Cardboard that cannot be recycled traditionally at a facility can be used to line flowerbeds in the garden or made into compost.
Recycling cardboard and other materials are far more viable and sustainable than cutting trees to make new paper and boxes. Recycling is a cost-effective way to produce new materials. It can seem too much trouble at first, but it can benefit you, your community and the world in the long run.