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Global warming has become an ever-growing environmental concern worldwide. Research has indicated that the destruction of forests and the emission of greenhouse gases are the primary contributors to global warming. The demand for paper and paper-related products has escalated the destruction of forests.
Therefore, Australia has advocated for paper and cardboard recycling in order to protect forests and reduce global warming. Recyclable waste paper is categorised into three primary groups: pre-consumer waste, post-consumer waste, and mill broke.
This categorisation at least includes all paper waste; thus, recycling ensures that all kinds of paper waste, including cardboard, are recycled. Read on to uncover more about the advantages of recycling cardboard and where you can recycle your cardboard.
Advantages Of Cardboard Recycling
Conservation of the environment
The destruction of forest cover is one of the most prevalent contributors to global warming. Paper and cardboard are made from trees meaning that the more paper and cardboard are made, the more trees are cut down. Research indicates that by approximation, twelve to thirty trees are saved from being cut down for every tonne of paper cardboard recycled.
Therefore, recycling cardboard helps reduce the number of trees cut down, thus curbing deforestation and protecting the ecosystem. Recycling paper cardboard offers the opportunity to conserve the environment by protecting natural resources such as water sources. The re-use of cardboard in producing other cardboard materials also encourages the use of renewable energy sources.
Additionally, cardboard materials are biodegradable and completely recyclable; most cardboard materials are made from materials that are on average 70 to 90 percent recyclable, and some are even from 100% percent recyclable materials. As a result, they are great for green packaging solutions which minimise the rates of environmental destruction and footprint.
Research has shown that the dumping of cardboard in landfills contributes to 40 percent of the total municipal waste in Australia. Therefore, recycling cardboard translates to a reduction in the amount of cardboard dumped in landfills, thus saving landfill space. One tonne of cardboard would save at least nine cubic yards of landfill space. Conserving landfill space means promoting a healthy human environment.
If you look at the bigger picture, recycling cardboard saves a great deal of energy. Recycling cardboard significantly reduces the amount of energy used to manufacture corrugated packing materials. The recycling process of cardboard requires 50 percent less electricity and 90 percent less water used in producing new cardboard.
Similarly, the recycling process requires only 75 percent of the energy used to make new cardboard. Therefore, the making of new cardboard generally requires more power than the recycling of used cardboard.
Cardboard Recycling Process
Cardboard is among the most frequently used materials in offices and other commercial sectors and for domestic purposes. The use of cardboard is skyrocketing. This is due to the shift from the use of plastics to the usage of paper and paper-based materials. Paper cardboard is relatively cheaper, more malleable, and sturdier, giving it the perfect recycling feature. This section will discuss the process of cardboard recycling.
Step One: Collection
The first step in cardboard recycling is the collection stage. Recyclers or private businesses manage various established cardboard collection centres. The regular waste management authorities have also started taking part in the collection of waste and recycling. Upon collection, the paper cardboard is measured and taken to the recycling companies, which are mostly paper mills.
The easily recyclable cardboard is accepted at the paper mills, while the rest is rejected. The choice is based on the cardboard's type of use and manufacturing. However, this does not mean that the recycling facility will not recycle the rejected cardboard. There is a specialised recycling process for such cardboard that the recycling facility cannot recycle through the simple recycling process.
Step Two: Sorting
The sorting process takes place at the recycling facilities, where the recyclable cardboard is categorised into boxboard and corrugated cardboard. Boxboard is primarily used for cereal boxes or cardboard drink containers since they are thin.
On the other hand, corrugated cardboard is bigger and stiffer and is used mainly for packaging goods for transportation. Paper mills manufacture distinctive grades of materials depending on the materials recovered. This necessitates the sorting process.
Step Three: Shredding and pulping
Shredding is done after sorting to break down the cardboard fibres into fine pieces. After shredding, pulping is done. Pulping entails mixing fine particles with chemicals and water to break them down further to form a slurry substance. After that, the slurry substance is mixed with new pulp, primarily from wood chips, to help solidify it.
Step Four: Filtering and de-inking
After pulping, there are chances that certain impurities such as glue, tape, and strings will be present in the slurry substance. Therefore, filtering is done to remove such impurities and any other foreign materials present. In addition, other contaminants such as metals or plastic are removed through a centrifuge-like process.
This process makes metals lie at the bottom while plastic floats at the top, thus making their removal effortless. After the chamber process, the next process of de-inking follows. This involves the transfer of the pulp into a piece of floatation equipment that is composed of chemicals.
In this device, through a series of filtering and screening stages, the chemicals remove any ink or dye present in the pulp. This process ensures that the pulp is thoroughly cleaned for the final stage of the recycling process.
Step Five: Finishing
This is the final stage and entails blending the clean pulp with new materials before it is dried on flat conveyor belts and hot cylindrical surfaces. During the drying process, the pulp is transferred to an automatic machine that removes excess water and facilitates the production of mediums and linerboards, which are then glued together to form new pieces of cardboard.
Where You Can Recycle Cardboard
So far, we have listed some of the most critical advantages of recycling cardboard and the basic process of cardboard recycling. It is important to note that the illegal dumping of paper and cardboard is an offense in Australia and may invite unnecessary sanctions or fines.
Considering the cardboard recycling process highlighted above, it is essential to know that the process may not be feasible domestically. This means that it could be more expensive and require too much labour to recycle carboard yourself at home. This is because the recycling process requires complex machinery and the use of costly chemicals that require a specific skill-set.
It is thus not advisable to recycle at home unless it is a very simple cardboard recycling method and for more specific purposes. While there are various avenues where you can recycle cardboard in Australia, the primary approach is business recycling.
Commercial bin hire and recycling companies take the cardboard and handle the recycling process. Such recycling and bin hire companies have established collection centres, also known as drop-off centres. These are widely spread in Australia for easy access by household and commercial cardboard users.
DIY Waste Removal Or Let The Experts Handle It
Similarly, some development applications are readily available for use by anyone who wants to drop off used cardboard for recycling. These allow you to apply to have your cardboard picked up from your home or premises by recycling companies, who would then take them to collection centres.
So, you really don't have to worry about where to drop off all your cardboard. Simply fill in the application for collection or hire a skip bin company to handle it for you. Skip bin companies offer waste removal services using trained and licensed waste removalists. These removalists are familiar will all waste types and how to conduct safe removals. However, You are also free to take the cardboard yourself to any drop-off centre close to you and let the recycling company handle the rest.