Recycle that Cardboard! Save the Planet!
Sturdier than paper, more pliable than wood, cardboard is a very effective and versatile way to package goods. Whether it’s a toaster oven from Target or a book shipped from Amazon, cardboard is an essential component in manufacturing and shipping goods to consumers. The downside is, the impact of cardboard on the environment is huge. The average person in the US will use seven trees worth of paper every year and this includes cardboard. Multiply that by the population of the US and that’s about two billion trees per year.
Our resources are not unlimited, so one way to make the use of cardboard more sustainable is through recycling. Cardboard is created from pulp which is a fibrous material extracted from trees through either a chemical or mechanical process. Recycling cardboard not only helps save trees, it also helps limit the hazardous gasses created as a byproduct of its manufacture.
Here are a few ideas on how to reuse and/or prepare cardboard for recycling.
● Keep cardboard dry. It is very difficult to recycle wet, or even damp cardboard.
● Store cardboard so that food and grease do not come into contact with it.
● Reuse cardboard boxes to store household items.
● Remove packing tape and labels from your boxes before placing them in recycling bins.
● Break boxes down for easier pickup and transfer and make sure recycling bins close completely so that rain or snow can not get in.
The cardboard used in packaging and shipping is mostly corrugated cardboard and is safe for recycling. Flat cardboard or paperboard is a single layer and may be coated in wax. It is important to keep flat cardboard clean and dry as well. Different recycling programs may have different guidelines on what they will accept and in what condition. Check with your local recycling facility.
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