Cardboard Recycling: The Dos and Don’ts

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Cardboard can be recycled in so many ways. But here are some common mistakes to avoid when recycling cardboard.

Recycling cardboard has never been more important. With the rise of online shopping, many boxes are coming into homes that need to be recycled. Cardboard recycling can be easy if you know how to do it right! Cardboard recycling is a great way to keep the environment clean, but it can be tricky to learn how. 

Many people make mistakes when recycling cardboard, resulting in them not recycling it correctly or, worse, throwing it away. This guide will discuss some of the most common mistakes people make when attempting to recycle cardboard and provide tips on how to do it correctly.

What is cardboard recycling?

The first step in recycling cardboard is to understand what it means. Cardboard isn’t just the boxes you get when you order something online; it’s any box that can be flattened and recycled. This includes cereal boxes, toilet paper rolls, shoe boxes, and other similar items.

  • Cardboard is a type of paper product that can be recycled, but it must be recycled properly. When recycling cardboard, a few steps must be taken for it to be correctly disposed of and reused by manufacturers.
  • The recycling process begins with the separation of cardboard into various categories, such as corrugated and non-corrugated.
  • Non-corrugated cardboard is pulped before being recycled into new sheets of cardboard for use in the manufacturing industry.
  • Corrugated boxes are flattened before being used to make other products, such as cereal boxes or egg cartons.
  • If you want to recycle your old boxes, make sure they’re clean and dry before throwing them away so the recycling facility can efficiently process them without being contaminated with food residue or dirt from outside.
  • Cardboard is one of the most commonly recycled materials because it is lightweight, easy to transport, cheap, durable enough to be reused in various applications, and has low environmental impacts compared to other types of packaging materials.

Why should you recycle your cardboard boxes?

The world is in dire need of sustainable resources. Recycling cardboard boxes instead of throwing them away in landfills is one way to contribute to this effort. Cardboard can be recycled multiple times without losing its integrity, making it an excellent recycling material. Here are a few of the reasons why you should recycle your cardboard boxes:

  • When compared to other common materials, cardboard has a low environmental impact. One ton of new paper necessitates the use of 24 trees, four cubic meters (141 cubic feet) of water, and half a barrel (18.93 gallons) of oil. Given that it is made from recycled paper, cardboard does not require much energy to produce. It also does not need to be bleached with chlorine, as most new papers do, making cardboard recycling a more environmentally friendly option than purchasing virgin materials.
  • Recycling cardboard boxes saves trees and water, reduces pollution, and is an environmentally friendly way to get rid of unwanted boxes around the house.
  • After being recycled, cardboard boxes are durable and can be reused for other purposes such as arts and crafts projects or storage.
  • Cardboard recycling is better for the environment because it does not emit harmful emissions like plastic does.
  • Recycling cardboard is less expensive than purchasing new ones, so you will save money in the long run.
  • By recycling your old boxes, you are helping to reduce landfill waste.

Why is it important to recycle cardboard?

It is undoubtedly better for the environment to reuse cardboard whenever possible. Recycling cardboard also saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, an essential part of combating climate change. It’s a very simple way to reduce our environmental impact. Even though cardboard is one of the most commonly discarded materials, it has a high decomposition rate. It is still helpful because cardboard can be recycled into new boxes, cartons, and cups.

Tips for getting started with cardboard decluttering and recycling at home:

  • Check your local recycling guide to see what can be recycled.
  • Begin by sorting through all of the cardboard boxes and other packaging materials that you have lying around the house.
  • Sort your cardboard into distinct piles (boxes, cereal boxes, old magazines)
  • Before you begin sorting, designate a location for all recyclables, so you don’t forget what goes where.
  • Look for any usable items and donate them to a local charity.
  • Get rid of anything else you no longer require or use.
  • Please ensure that everything is appropriately sorted so that it does not get mixed up with anything else when you bring it to the recycling center.

Cardboard Recycling Dos and Don’ts

People enjoy recycling cardboard because it is simple and saves them money. While this is generally well-intended, there are a few ways to go wrong when attempting to be environmentally friendly. When recycling your boxes, remember to follow these guidelines. It will save you time and money while also benefiting the environment. Let’s go over the dos and don’ts of cardboard recycling.

The dos of recycling cardboard

Make sure all packaging tape has been removed from your cardboard before recycling.

Some people are unaware that the tape on their cardboard boxes must be removed before recycling. This is because many types of tapes contain chemicals and adhesives that can contaminate them if mixed with other recyclables in a sorting facility. When going through your trash at home, make sure that all packaging tape has been removed.

When recycling cardboard, flatten it out as much as possible.

Many people are unaware that you must reduce the size of your box before placing it in the recycling bin. This is because sorting facilities can become overburdened with large pieces of recyclable material, slowing down the process and increasing the facility’s costs. Before recycling, make sure your boxes have been broken down and flattened as much as possible.

When recycling cardboard, make sure to recycle it in the appropriate recycling bin.

Some people are unsure whether to put their cardboard in a paper or plastic bin, while others simply throw it away. This is because some recycling facilities accept both, and sorting out the various types of recyclables can be time-consuming and costly. Make sure that your cartons are placed in the appropriate recycling bin.

Holiday Cardboard Recycling Tips - Talking Trash Blog

The don’ts of cardboard recycling

Do not dispose of cardboard boxes in the regular trash.

This is one of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to recycling their cardboard, and they don’t even realize it. This is because cardboard boxes are made up of a variety of different materials such as paper, ink, and other chemicals, which might confuse those who are unsure about recycling. 

Do not rinse off your cartons before recycling them.

Some people prefer to wash their cardboard boxes before recycling them, which is understandable. However, it’s important to be aware that the detergent you’re using to clean your cartons contains chemicals that can contaminate other recyclables if mixed with them. Make sure that this is not the case by recycling without first rinsing your boxes.

Do not put food waste in your cardboard.

This is a significant one. People frequently forget that their cartons were used to transport or contain food items. When they throw them in the recycling bin, it causes problems for sorting facilities, which can no longer recycle these materials due to contamination issues. Make sure that you are only recycling boxes that do not contain food waste. 

Make sure you never recycle oily, greasy, or food-stained cardboard boxes when trying to be environmentally friendly. Oily or greasy cardboard boxes can ruin the machinery that recyclables are sorted with, which will require expensive repairs to fix it. 

Don’t put your recyclables in plastic bags.

Plastic bags can clog recycling machinery and cause significant damage, which is costly to repair. Make sure you never put your recyclables in a plastic bag after you’ve sorted them at home.

Being environmentally conscious with recycling entails doing everything in your power to recycle and ensuring that you’re recycling correctly. This includes taking the time to break down and flatten your cardboard before placing it in the appropriate bin, not rinsing it off, or throwing food waste into it before recycling.

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