Is Cardboard Recyclable?
Yes, cardboard is recyclable and it should be recycled by consumers, businesses, and institutions.
Cardboard is one of the most commonly generated waste products in virtually any business. In fact, the EPA estimates that 24.1 million tons of corrugated cardboard is discarded each year. Fortunately, the vast majority of that cardboard — as much as 91 percent — is recycled. Thus, cardboard is one of the easiest materials in the world to recycle.
Here are 10 tips for recycling cardboard in the most efficient way possible.
- Keep it dry: Once cardboard gets wet or saturated, it becomes extremely difficult–if not altogether impossible – to recycle, so try to keep it as dry as possible.
- Break it down: Flatten cardboard boxes as much as you can. This will conserve space in recycling containers and make them easier to transport. On the flip side, failing to break down boxes can present complications for the actual cardboard-recycling machinery.
- Remove plastic and other contaminants: Be sure to remove plastic, polystyrene, and other contaminants from your cardboard before recycling. While you’re certainly welcome to remove any tape or labels that may appear on your cardboard, they can be removed quite easily at recycling facilities.
- Establish a system: Have a system in place to collect cardboard quickly and efficiently before it becomes trash.
- Store responsibly: Once collected, place all cardboard waste in a closed-topped recycling bin, and store these bins in a clean, dry place.
- Store strategically: Any cardboard that contains grease or other contaminants cannot be recycled, so the next time your boss buys pizza for the staff, avoid combining those greasy boxes with dry, non-contaminated cardboard.
- It’s not just grease, either: Food is one of the worst contaminants in the cardboard-recycling process, especially when that food involves oil. Why? Because when cardboard is recycled, it is mixed with water–and as we all learned in science class, oil and water don’t mix.
- Use a cardboard baler: A baler is cost-effective way to compact large quantities of cardboard and can be cheaper and more environmentally friendly than a traditional dumpster.
- Use it as transport: If you have other recyclables–newspapers, glass, plastic, etc.–use cardboard boxes to transport them to the nearest drop-off center. Then you can recycle the boxes–assuming you keep them dry and flatten them, that is.
- Take it outside: Not all of your cardboard has to be recycled in the traditional sense. In fact, cardboard can serve in a variety of gardening and compost capacities. Talk to those responsible for your office landscaping and offer them excess cardboard to use as mulch, or simply donate it to a compost facility.
“These, of course, are just some of the many ways that you can recycle cardboard, and Hazardous Waste Experts can provide you with a plethora of alternatives,” Hazardous Waste Experts CEO Mark Hope said. “Regardless of how much cardboard waste you produce, we can outline a thorough yet cost-effective plan to handle all of your cardboard needs.”
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