Where to Recycle Cardboard, No Matter Where You Are

Recycle, Egypt, Elephantine Island Resort, Aswan

There’s a recycling bin for every scenario, whether you’re in the great outdoors or running errands around town.

Recycling cardboard is a great way to help the environment. It’s also a cost-effective way for businesses to reduce their waste output. Cardboard boxes are one of those items that can be recycled almost anywhere, from supermarkets and office buildings to parks and bike paths. Continue reading this guide to learn about some public places where you can recycle your cardboard.

Know what you can recycle

Some businesses will only accept certain types of cardboard boxes. Some companies, for example, may recycle corrugated cardboard but not plain brown cardboard. It’s also essential to understand how much time you have to dispose of your items once they’re out in the open; for example, office buildings frequently won’t let you leave recycling outside after hours or on weekends.

Be aware of your surroundings

It can be tempting to take shortcuts when it comes to recycling, but paying attention to the location is critical for safety reasons. For example, if you’re in a park, keep everything away from the walking path and away from trees and benches.

If you can’t find an indoor drop-off location for recycling cardboard boxes, be prepared for inclement weather; remember that there is always a risk of rain when leaving your recyclables outside. Ascertain that you have a method of protecting the items from water damage.

Tips on how to protect recyclables when leaving them outside:

  • Cover your recycling bin with a tarp or plastic sheet
  • Place the recycling bin under an overhang to shield it from rain.
  • Store recyclables in bins that are waterproof and have lids for easy transport
  • Use a garbage can as an alternative to storing recyclables outside if you live in a rainy area. 
  • Get creative – use old umbrellas, tarps, buckets, or anything else you find around the house to protect your recyclables from rain and wind. 
  • If there is no other option but to leave them outside on a rainy day, make sure they’re covered with some sort of material so water doesn’t seep through and ruin the contents inside.

Always call ahead. Just because someone else can recycle your cardboard doesn’t mean they will, at least not without you calling them first. If recycling is important to you, call a few places before leaving on your trip.

Be prepared to keep moving

Although it may be tempting to stack all of your cardboard by the side of the road or to leave it outside after closing time, these practices can expose you to a significant risk of theft or damage. Take your recyclables with you as soon as possible to ensure that they are safe and ready for transport to the appropriate recycling center.

Remember that cardboard boxes, even those without flaps or lids, can be recycled almost anywhere there is a drop-off location. Most businesses have corrugated cardboard recycling bins, but not all businesses accept plain brown paper. Check with your local area to learn more about available options for recycling cardboard boxes, no matter how big or small they are.

You can recycle your cardboard at the following businesses or public places:

  • stores
  • bookstores
  • libraries
  • supermarkets
  • hospitals/doctor’s offices
  • office buildings and other business locations
  • parks and bike trails in your area
  • bike rental shops
  • hotels or hostels in the area 

Make sure to contact them first before heading out on a trip. You can also ask local businesses if there are any recycling bins near their location.

Before leaving items outside after closing time:

  1. Find out what types of cartons the business accepts.
  2. Keep your recyclables secure and out of the way of pedestrians.
  3. If you need assistance transporting or storing items, call ahead to ensure someone will be available.

Remember that only properly flattened others can recycle cardboard boxes; otherwise, recycling receptacles will not accept them. Take your recyclables with you as soon as possible to ensure that they are safe and ready for transport to the appropriate recycling center.

Find out what the recycling guidelines are for your city

Some cities require recycling to be done at a specific facility, while others allow paper boxes to be thrown out with regular trash.

There is a way to recycle cardboard boxes no matter where you are. If you own a business, ensure that they follow recycling guidelines when disposing of corrugated paper boxes. Cardboard can be recycled in various ways, including composting, and used for a variety of other purposes.

Five simple ways to be environmentally conscious at the grocery store:

  • Bring your own bag to the grocery store
  • Request that all cardboard boxes be recycled
  • Ask for paper bags instead of plastic or other materials when checking out
  • Pack produce in a cardboard box and reuse it as an organizer around the house 
  • Use unneeded boxes to pack up items you donate at a thrift shop, such as clothes and books

Five simple ways to be environmentally conscious at restaurants:

  • Bring your own reusable water bottle.
  • Order a vegetarian or vegan dish – this will help reduce the amount of meat being served and have less impact on the environment.
  • Bring reusable cutlery and straws with you when you go out to eat so you can reduce waste at restaurants!
  • Eat locally grown produce to reduce food miles traveled and support local agriculture.
  • Be mindful of how much you eat when dining out – it takes more energy to prepare larger portions for one person than several people, so order only what you need.

10 Amazing Products from Recycled Cardboard - One Green Planet

How to be environmentally conscious while traveling 

If you’re in a public place or even your backyard, there’s always the option to recycle paper and cardboard. Recycling should be made simple for anyone who wants to participate; therefore, it should be easily accessible and not too far away.

Many stores and businesses allow you to recycle paper materials such as cardboard boxes. If you don’t want to leave it on the street, ask someone to help you recycle your items at your destination. To avoid accidents, make sure you’re staying safe and keeping your recycling out of the way of pedestrians.

Here are some great public places to dispose of your recyclables:

Your local recycling center

Your neighborhood recycling center is a great place to start! Many people overlook their local recycling centers because they are often located in industrial areas, but they are easily accessible by bus or foot.

Your neighborhood grocery store

Most grocery stores will have appropriate recycling bins for paper materials such as cardboard boxes and paper bags. If they aren’t provided, bring your own reusable bags, and put all of the recycling in one bag to make it easier to transport.

Your local mall or shopping center

Many shopping centers and malls will have paper recycling bins, such as cardboard boxes.

Your local park

If you’re going to a beautiful outdoor location, remember to recycle your paper products! Many parks have designated areas with receptacles for these types of recyclables, allowing them to stay dry and clean before being collected by the local recycling company.

On a sidewalk near your home

If you’re home, make a designated area outside for recyclables and devise a simple system for remembering where it is! You can do this with anything from a small dish to hold your paper materials until collection day to a large recycling bin visible from your front door. Make sure the location is safe and easy to reach for everyone in your neighborhood.

At an office building or business, you frequent

Many people overlook their regular locations, such as offices they visit daily because they are less visible than other public spaces, such as buses and parks. However, if you work in an office building or frequently visit a business with paper recycling bins, such as cardboard boxes, place your recyclables there.

Your favorite fast-food restaurant

If you eat at a fast-food restaurant regularly, be sure to inquire about their recycling practices! Instead of throwing them away, put them in the proper receptacles for paper products, such as cardboard boxes and paper bags.

Gas stations

Because gas stations are becoming more environmentally conscious, it’s worth asking if they’ll recycle your boxes while you fill up! If not, look around town for any gas station that will.

Hospitals and doctor’s offices

As you visit a hospital or doctor’s office, asking about recycling practices is an easy way to be more environmentally conscious! Put paper products, such as cardboard boxes and paper bags, in designated receptacles in the building rather than throwing them away.

Your local library or school

Recycling bins for paper products, such as cardboard boxes, can be found in many libraries and schools.


The final piece of advice is to keep an eye out for environmentally conscious restaurants in your area. These locations will either have recycling bins for cardboard boxes or will be able to recycle them along with other paper products such as napkins and tissues. Many people are unaware of this type of recycling!

Incorporating these strategies into your daily life at home and on the go will be simple to recycle at any time of day, no matter where you are. 

Recycling boxes for cardboard and other recyclables are located throughout various cities, so there may be one nearby no matter where you go! Check the city’s website or call their hotline to see if that’s the case in your area, as well as which days of the week they’re collected.

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