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Cardboard Waste Recycling

There are some instances where the classification of recyclable cardboard is unclear. Fortunately, recycling cardboard is simple. It is a quality material that you can recycle numerous times. Because the fibre is already processed, recycling cardboard waste also helps to cut down on processing pollution by around 95%. In this article, we will surmise the ins and outs of cardboard recycling, so continue reading to discover how to recycle cardboard.

What Is Cardboard Recycling?

Paper-based cardboard is a superior recyclable material. The most popular cardboard items are corrugated cardboard and grey paperboard used for packing boxes. If you are wondering whether 100% of cardboard is recyclable, the answer is this: it all depends on the type of cardboard and the recycling programs in your area.

Recycling cardboard means repurposing used stiff, multi-layered papers, referred to as cardboard. Many facilities believe all cardboard can be recycled. Unfortunately, many domestic recycling facilities might lack the equipment needed to recycle cardboard made of multiple materials.

What Are The Different Kinds Of Cardboard?

Corrugated cardboard

A fluted corrugated sheet plus one or more flat liner boards make up corrugated fibreboard, known as corrugated cardboard. Recycling corrugated boxes is simple. They can be put in curbside recycling pickup bins or taken to recycling locations. The boxes are then shipped to a paper factory, where many of them will be processed and made into new corrugated boards.

Paperboard or chipboard

Paperboard, also referred to as thin cardboard, is used in packaging most of the non-frozen, non-liquid products you might have come across. Cake boxes, cereal boxes, milk cartons, gift boxes, soap boxes, and toothpaste boxes are some examples. However, even though these brown paper and cardboard boxes are widespread (glance around the grocery store), not all recycling facilities accept them.

Coated cardboard

Coated cardboard comprises waxed cardboard and plastic-lined cardboard. These materials have been reinforced with additional components so we can use them for liquids and frozen food. Some examples of coated cardboard include juice boxes and ice cream cartons. Once cleaned and dried, they can be recycled, but only at facilities with the required equipment.

What Types Of Cardboard Can You Recycle?

Boxes, plates, tubes, fibreboard, and paperboard are all examples of recyclable cardboard. Keen to note is that you cannot recycle cardboard that is tainted with grease and oil, such as a pizza box.

You can, however, cut off the dirty or stained part of the box and recycle the rest. Additionally, you cannot recycle wet cardboard because it could clog the sorting machines used early in the cardboard recycling process.

Note: Look for the triangular recycling emblem or instructions on all cardboard containers to confirm whether you can recycle them. You could also check with your local authorities on what type of cardboard they accept for recycling, or call them if you are unsure.

Is Recycling Cardboard Easy?

Recycling cardboard is typically simple. However, there are a few "rules" for recycling cardboard that you should abide by. They are as follows:

• Verify that the cardboard boxes are empty by removing any packaging peanuts, bubble wrap, or Styrofoam.

• Small quantities of Sellotape on the cardboard are acceptable and could be removed at the recycling facility. However, it is better to take off any extra tape beforehand.

• Take off all plastic delivery envelopes and labels.

• Before recycling your cardboard, make sure it is clean. You cannot recycle cardboard containing grease, oil, or food debris, as with pizza boxes.

• Before you recycle, dry any damp cardboard.

• Before placing cardboard boxes in your recycling container, flatten them to save room.

• If the cardboard is not in perfect shape, do not worry. Torn, bent, or damaged cardboards are also acceptable for recycling. You could contact your local government or recycling facility to guarantee that your cardboard gets recycled rather than dumped.

Keep in mind that some facilities may have different requirements for cardboard recycling. For instance, some may require you to disassemble cardboard boxes, while some even request that you tie your cardboard together to ensure that it is not blown away by the wind while in transit.

Things You Can Do With Cardboard Waste

Cardboard collection

You could choose a nearby paper mill or waste collection company to take your cardboard garbage. High volumes of cardboard waste could significantly reduce waste disposal expenses. You could schedule a pickup of your cardboard waste or drop it off at the waste collection facility.

Use it as void fill packaging material

You could reuse your leftover cardboard using a cardboard perforator or shredder to create void-fill packaging material. All you need to do is shred or perforate your cardboard boxes and sheets.

Break your cardboard boxes into small bales

You could also break cardboard boxes into small bales with the help of a cardboard baler machine. Since cardboard takes up a lot of room, these machines free up storage at your business. You could then get income from cardboard waste by selling the cardboard bales to recycling centres in your neighbourhood.

Other Applications For Used Cardboard Boxes

You could reuse boxes made of cardboard in other ways besides merely taking them to a recycling facility. Try one of the alternative ideas provided below for old cardboard boxes if you want to get creative.

As a protection for your floors when painting

Break down your cardboard boxes and cut them down on the folded seams to make them as big as possible if you intend to paint the walls in your new home. Use them as a layer of protection on the floor after that. Additionally, you could use painter's tape to bind the cardboard down without endangering your wooden floors if you have them.

Make drawer dividers

A fantastic time to become more organised is immediately following a move. You could do so by creating drawer dividers out of cardboard. Simply cut down any cardboard used during the move to store your items into pieces measured to fit your drawers.

As storage

Finally, you could use your old cardboard boxes to store anything, including pantry items, clothing, and toys.

Cardboard Recycling Preparation

It's essential to prepare your cardboard waste for recycling. Simply follow the steps listed below to get ready for the recycling process:

• Store your cardboard waste until recycling day in a dry place. As previously mentioned, damp cardboard is not accepted for recycling.

• The next step is to compress any cardboard boxes in your possession. It might be necessary to fold or cut flattened cardboard cartons containing large products in half to fit them in your recycling bin. Cut any tape used to seal the box's top or bottom with a knife before compressing it. Although most recyclers prefer flattened boxes to conserve room, you do not necessarily need to remove the tape.

• If you have stained boxes, cut the section with oil stains from food-soiled boxes (like pizza boxes) for recycling. You cannot recycle boards with food stains.

What Is The Procedure For Recycling?

It is crucial to separate your cardboard waste from other garbage to prevent the cardboard from ending up in a landfill. You might even save money on waste collection and packing materials by sorting your cardboard. The sequential procedure is as follows:

The waste is collected and transported

Firstly, cardboard waste is collected and transported to a recycling facility where the cardboard gets sorted into boxes and corrugated cardboard.

The waste is sorted, shredded, and pulped

Following sorting, shredding is the following process, then pulping. The cardboard paper fibres are reduced to tiny fragments through shredding. It is combined with water and specific chemicals to further break down the paper fibres, creating a slurry after the material has been finely chopped into pieces through a process referred to as pulping.

The pulped material is combined with wood pulp

The pulped material is then combined with fresh pulp, typically made from wood chips, which ultimately aids in the final product's solidification and firmness.

The pulp is filtered

Next, the pulp material is put through a thorough filtration process to remove all extraneous objects and contaminants like strings, glue, or tape.

The pulp is put through a centrifuge

The pulp is then placed in a chamber where plastic and metal staples and other impurities are eliminated using a centrifugal process. Heavy metal staples will sink to the bottom and are removed, while plastics float on top.

The pulp is placed in a floatation device

The pulp is then placed into a flotation device comprised of chemicals that remove any traces of colours or ink through a succession of filtering and screening steps. This process is known as de-inking. Since it thoroughly cleans the pulp to guarantee that it is prepared for the last processing stage, this step is also known as the cleaning process.

The clean pulp is mixed with fresh production materials

The cleaned pulp is then mixed with fresh production materials at this point, and it is then allowed to dry on heated cylindrical surfaces and a flat conveyor belt.

The pulp is sent through an automated machine

To create long rolls of a solid sheet from the fibres known as liner boards and mediums, the pulp is sent through an automated machine that presses out extra water as it dries. A fresh piece of cardboard is created one layer at a time by gluing the linerboard.

The Benefits Recycling Cardboard Offers

Recycling cardboard comes with a lot of advantages. Here are six compelling reasons why you should recycle your cardboard waste:

Conserves forests

When cardboard is recycled, long, sturdy paper fibres are acquired, which can be used repeatedly to create new cardboard. As a result, fewer trees must be cut down to produce cardboard. One ton of recycled cardboard can help preserve at least 17 trees.

Saves energy

Compared to creating cardboard from recycled cardboard, making cardboard from raw materials takes longer and involves more steps. This is because more energy and resources are utilised to make cardboard out of wood. Therefore, recycling cardboard could result in energy savings.

Reduces pollution

When using wood to get pulp that is then used to make cardboard, sulphur dioxide, a gas that contributes to acid rain, is produced in the process. Therefore, recycling cardboard instead of using wood in the production of cardboard could reduce the pollution levels from sulphur dioxide by at least half.

Reduces landfill

When you recycle cardboard instead of throwing it away, it does not end up in landfills. Even though landfills qualify as a proper waste disposal mechanism, they could potentially harm the environment as they contaminate the air and water if not handled correctly. To put it in perspective, you could save about nine cubic yards of landfill area by recycling one ton of cardboard.

Reduces greenhouse gasses

Methane is a greenhouse gas released when cardboard gets disposed of in landfills. Methane contributes to global warming by absorbing solar energy and warming the atmosphere. Therefore, recycling cardboard instead of disposing of it could reduce greenhouse gases.

Water conservation

Water is used extensively during the cardboard-production process. Recycled cardboard does not include that step in the manufacturing process. Therefore, you could prevent around 7000 tons of water for every ton of curbside recycling.

How Many Times Can Cardboard Be Recycled?

You could recycle cardboard boxes and other paper products up to around five to seven times. Since recycling facilities can recycle cardboard several times over, its fibres get shorter, making the material thinner and less sturdy with each recycling. However, it could be converted into a paper paste towards the end of its life cycle and used to manufacture newspapers and egg cartons.

If You Don't Recycle Cardboard, What Happens?

If you do not prefer recycling, you could just dump your cardboard in the waste bin. However, doing this means that it will end up in a landfill and cause contamination of the air and water. If we do not recycle cardboard, we will be forced to create it from raw resources such as wood, which implies that we will increase tree-cutting and aid in deforestation.

Increased carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, soil erosion, and biodiversity loss are all consequences of deforestation. Additionally, as mentioned before, compared to recycled cardboard, "virgin cardboard" manufacturing utilises far more water and chemicals. We increase this waste by creating a demand for "fresh" cardboard instead of simply recycling cardboard waste.

Recycle Cardboard, Don't Dispose Of It!

There is no excuse for allowing your moving boxes to end up in landfill space when there are many possibilities for recycling and reusing them, as discussed in the article. Therefore, ensure that you recycle your used cardboard boxes or upcycle them into something useful.

If you need help figuring out how to recycle your cardboard waste, contact your local recycling facility, skip bin company, or any other reliable facility and play your part in environmental conservation. After all, recycling your waste cardboard will benefit the world and guarantee that you live sustainably.