Cardboard is a great resource to recycle due to its natural wood fibres even though it is biodegradable. These boxes are used for various packing and shipment needs, representing a significant percentage of solid waste when disposed. Recycling these boxes can protect the environment, avert deforestation, save energy, reduce pollution and free up landfill spaces.
The benefit is that these old cardboard boxes can be turned into brand new ones saving raw materials used to manufacture more boxes. You can start by separating all your cardboard boxes from your trash to keep it from reaching the landfill. Many residential and commercial facilities offer a designated cardboard container for you to recycle your cardboard waste. Just ensure you flatten the boxes before you place them in these containers.
It might take time to prepare cardboard boxes for recycling, but it is worth the time and effort to prevent dumping cardboard waste. In addition, you are contributing to a clean and green environment. Today, cardboard boxes are manufactured and designed to be recycled. With more recycling, fewer trees are being chopped to produce these boxes.
Here are the eight ways on how to recycle cardboard at home:
1. Flatten cardboard boxes
One of the best ways on how to recycle cardboard is to flatten it as much as possible. By flattening the cardboard boxes, you can store and collect more boxes. It also makes it easier for the waste management company to recycle and handle these boxes during the recycling process. If however, a substance damages any part of the boxes, then cut that part out and recycle the rest. Flattening the boxes makes it easy to transport to the recycling facility.
2. Remove other materials
All cardboard boxes used for packaging, will surely consist of leftover tape, sticky labels and protective plastic inside the box. It is not necessary to remove the packing tape or sticky labels as that can be undertaken at the recycling facility. However, if you have the time, it would be nice to support the recycling facility by removing the tape, plastic and labels. This ensures the material is clean and ready for recycling.
3. Follow a system
Having cardboard boxes lying around or having to recycle one at a time can be cumbersome. The best is to follow a simple system. After use, remove any paper, plastic and tape. Ensure the box is dry and not contaminated. Then flatten the boxes, store and keep collecting them into piles until you have a manageable load to recycle.
4. Separate and store properly
Some boxes might end up greasy or contaminated like pizza boxes. These boxes may not be suitable for recycling and should not be mixed with the dry boxes you have collected. If there is any oil or grease, the box should be placed in a composting bin.
The problem with these boxes is that the grease or oil cannot be separated from the box fibres, making the materials unusable. If however, there is a small grease stain, you can cut out the stained area and toss the clean sections into the recycling container. Make sure storage areas are not susceptible to fire breakouts.
5. Buy 100% recycling cardboard boxes
There are packaging companies that manufacture and sell 100% recycled boxes. They have a dedicated recycling division to help their customers with unwanted cardboard boxes. If you buy from them, you are buying recycling boxes that are given back to the company making you or your organization environmentally responsible. These companies even pay for the used and unwanted boxes.
6. Ways of collecting for recycling
If you have no proper way of recycling cardboard boxes, you can contact a waste management company to collect it, drop it yourself at the recycling facility or contact your city representatives to install a cardboard recycling bin in or near your facility. Most residential and commercial zones have a central recycling area. The recycling containers are commonly located near the trash disposal area, making it convenient for you to sort and place your recycling materials.
7. Know the recycling collection days
The city council officials or waste management representatives have a schedule to follow when collecting recycled cardboard. Keep track of the program and days of pick up. This way, you can gather all your cardboard boxes, fold them, pile them neatly and place them in the recycling containers a day before pick up.
8. The need for balers or compactors
Sometimes, cardboard boxes are too big or heavy to flatten. Your organization might have a baler or compactor at the office to help with these types of boxes. Balers and compactors are heavy equipment that may not be suitable for your home.
If at home, you can drop it off at one of your recycling centers that will surely have these types of equipment to compress cardboard boxes into manageable pieces. Balers and compactors are excellent equipment for an organization as it improves efficiency in recycling cardboard.