By Matiiapa Chindori-Chininga
Coordinator, Paper Group
Cardboard boxes are a modern harbinger of joy! Everyone gets a little excited whenever they come home to find boxed Amazon packages, a subscription service box or something else they ordered outside their front door. Aside from ensuring safe carriage of our purchases, cardboard boxes play quite a significant role in our daily lives. Whether serving as a means of storing our memories or as a way to ship care packages to family and friends, cardboard is everywhere and for good reason - its incredible sustainability. Cardboard packaging is designed to be recycled, so it is important we properly recycle the cardboard in our homes and offices at every opportunity.
Cardboard can be recycled five to seven times and is a generally straightforward and easy material to recycle. In 2014, 96 percent of Americans had access to community curbside and/or drop-off recycling for cardboard boxes.
Here are six handy tips to get you started:
- Remove any box packing materials such as packing peanuts or Styrofoam.
- You don’t need to worry about removing any tape or labels from your cardboard boxes. They will be removed in the recycling process.
- If your box is dented, bent, ripped or damaged, that’s okay. It can still be recycled as long as it is dry and clean.
- Keep your boxes dry. If your boxes get wet allow them to dry before recycling them.
- Keep your boxes clean and away from food products such as oil and grease! A greasy or heavily food-stained box cannot be recycled.
- Flatten your cardboard boxes or rip them up before placing them in your recycling bin or cart. This will save space.
It is important to note that there are two types of cardboard: corrugated cardboard and paperboard. Paperboard is the thinner of the two and is used to make things like cereal boxes, shoe boxes, juice containers and milk cartons. Corrugated cardboard is the stronger, thicker of the two and is primarily used to make packaging boxes and even furniture. ALL cardboard is recyclable, but when it comes to your juice containers, pizza boxes and milk cartons, separate rules may apply, so check your local municipality for rules and tips.
Cardboard is a wonder material - strong, durable and made from a renewable and recyclable material. When we recycle it, we improve our quality of life and our environment and also help the industry make new and innovative products we use every day.