How to recycle cardboard boxes? Complete guide 2023

How to Recycle Cardboard Boxes

How to Recycle Cardboard Boxes the Right Way

When you receive a package, you quickly rip open the packaging tape with eager anticipation. Once the wrapping is removed, you eagerly await your new clothes, furniture or electronics. However, after unpacking, you find yourself with an empty cardboard box. There’s nothing inside except for an old bag of potato chips. Instead of tossing it in the trash, why not reuse the box? If you’re like many people, you probably throw out hundreds of pounds of recycled paper each year. Why not reduce those numbers by reusing your cardboard boxes instead?

Recycling cardboard isn’t easy for everyone. Many people don’t even know what kind of materials should go in the recycling bin. Some people might think that plastic bottles should go in the trash because they aren’t recyclable. Others might think that all paper products should go in the trash, while still others may think that glass bottles should go in the recycling. There are many different types of recycling programs around the country, so you need to check your local regulations to see if there is a specific type of material that must be separated out.

Cardboard recycling is an essential component of any sustainable lifestyle. Cardboard can be recycled many times before it becomes unusable, and there are several different types of cardboard recyclers available. Some cardboard recyclers can even be built yourself. There are also other options for recycling cardboard, including composting and using cardboard in construction projects.

Is Cardboard Recyclable?

Most forms of cardboard are recyclable. There are two main types of cardboard: corrugated cardboard and paperboard. Corrugated cardboard is used to send items through the mail. These boxes contain an inner layer made out of cardboard between liner sheets. To make them stronger, each box contains a plastic sleeve around the cardboard core. This type of packaging is also called OCC — Old Corrugated Containers. According to the American forest & paper association, old corrugated cardboard/containers had an incredible 96.4% recovery rate in 2018, the highest recovery rate of any paper product.

Paperboard is made out of thin layers of cellulose fibers that are glued together using an adhesive called starch. It is usually produced from wood pulp, although there are different types of paperboard available. Paperboard can be recycled, but it must be handled carefully. Used pizza boxes with oil stains, food remnants, or chemical spills should never be thrown into the recycling bins. These items will contaminate the recycling stream and cause problems when they get mixed with clean paperboard.

Because these substances can contaminate recycled paper and compromise its quality, they must be removed before the material is made into new paper products. However, many municipalities have strict regulations regarding what materials can go into landfills. Therefore, there is an increasing need for a cost-effective method to remove these contaminants.

Types of Cardboard

Corrugated cardboard is made of multiple layers of cardboard glued together. These layers are usually coated with polyethylene plastic to protect them against moisture. Corrugated cardboard is stronger than paperboard because it is thicker. It also comes in different colors and textures. It is often used to package products like soda cans and potato chips.

Paperboard is made of a single layer of cardboard. It is made of three basic components: a core, an outer shell, and a coating. The core is the center of the board, and it is usually made of fiberglass. The outer shell is made of a thin layer of paper, and it protects the core from damage. The coating is a protective layer that prevents the outer shell from sticking to itself. Paperboard is generally white and can come in many different thicknesses. It is used to package everything from milk cartons to books.

How to Prepare Cardboard for Recycling

If your local recycling program accepts cardboard, then you can recycle boxes. But you should check with them first. Some programs accept boxes that are flattened, while others require that boxes be opened. If you’re unsure about what kind of boxes are accepted, ask! Also, if you’ve got any leftover packing material, like tape or bubble wrap, throw those away, too. Finally, when you get your recyclables back, make sure to tie or tape them together, just like you did when you put them out.

If you’re looking to recycle your cardboard, you’ll need to check with your local municipality first. Some municipalities will accept certain types of cardboard while others won’t. You may also need to remove any tape or other packaging material before you put your cardboard in the bin. If you’re not sure what type of cardboard you can recycle, ask your local garbage collector.

When Cardboard Boxes Can’t be Recycled

Recycling centers will usually accept many types of cardboard, including pizza boxes. However, if you find a pizza box that contains grease, you should cut out the greasy parts before recycling. Some cardboard items, like juice containers, may have a thin layer of wax or another substance that prevents them from being recycled. If there aren’t any recycling symbols or instructions, then you’ll need to rinse the item thoroughly before putting it in the recycling bin.

If you cannot recycle cardboard, look for ways to repurpose it around your home. You can compost it, use it for gardening, or even put it in your yard as mulch for weed prevention. Boxes are great for storing items like books, toys, and tools. If you need to ship something, you can use cardboard boxes. Some companies offer free boxes if you buy a certain amount of products.

How to Recycle Cardboard boxes?

In order to recycle properly, you need to understand how to prepare the boxes, what materials to collect and where to put them. You also need to know where to send the boxes once they are ready for collection.

Break Down the cardboard Boxes

The first step in the cardboard recycling process is to break down your boxes. You can use a box cutter, knife or scissors to cut through any tape that might hold the box together. Make sure there are no remaining pieces of plastic or other packaging materials inside. Once you’ve removed all the packaging materials, you should be able to fold the box flat. Most recycling centers will remove the tape or packaging label for you, so there is no need to worry about doing that.

Don’t throw away your old cardboard because it might contain oils or liquids. If there is grease or oil on your box, cut it out before you recycle it, so the facility will not have to deal with those contaminates. You can also save yourself time if you don’t give them the wet parts. Saturated cardboard is hard to recycle, so make sure you only give them the dry pieces.

Put the Cardboard Boxes Outside on Recycling Day

It’s not enough just to flatten the boxes. Especially when they’re big or if you have a lot of them. You can fold them to ensure you’re able to squeeze all of the boxes inside the recycling bin. Some companies will let you put cardboard out in the yard, but make sure it isn’t going to get wet. This type of weather could ruin your collection. If you cannot fit all of the broken down boxes inside the recycling bin, store it safely and dry until your local garbage disposal service comes to pick it up. You can always give them a call to see when they‘ll be able to stop at your house and collect your old cardboard.

How is Cardboard Boxes are Recycled?

Once the packaging is delivered to the recycling center, it goes through several steps before it can be recycled. First, the cardboard needs to be separated from other paper items. Then, the cardboard is baled and sent for processing at a mill. There, the cardboard is shredded into tiny bits. Water and chemicals soften and break down the cardboard into fibers, and any remaining ink and tape are removed. Next, the fibers are mixed with water and stirred to form a pulp. Finally, the pulp is squeezed and kneaded until it reaches the correct consistency.

Paper mills produce about 80 million tons of recycled fiber each year, and approximately half of these fibers end up in the production of newsprint. However, the majority of paper produced ends up in landfills after the printing process is completed. Recycling paper allows for the reuse of all types of paper, including newsprint, magazines, catalogs, packaging materials, and office documents. Paper recycling also helps reduce waste going to landfills.

Alternative Cardboard Boxes Recycling Methods

Aside from reusing cardboard at home or bringing it to a local recycling facility; there are several other ways to recycle cardboard boxes. Once again, there’s really no need to throw away something if you have several alternatives at your disposal. For example, you can cut out the panels and turn them into small wall decorations. You can also cut them into smaller pieces and use them as packing material for moving furniture around. If you prefer to keep the cardboard intact, you can use it as a base for an outdoor table or even as a flooring material for patios.


Cardboard doesn’t need to be soaked before adding it to your compost bin. Just put it on top of the other material. If you want to speed up the process, add a bit of water. Don’t worry about any packaging materials. They will just get broken down along with the rest of the cardboard.

You should add the cardboard to the compost when it is still wet and soft. You can also mix it in with other organic material, like sawdust. Turn the pile regularly to keep it aerated and moist. If it gets too dry, add water. After six-to-eight weeks, the compost should be ready for use.

Use Them or Give Them Away for Reuse

If you’re looking for a way to recycle cardboard, there are many options available. You can either donate the boxes to charity organisations or sell them at flea markets. If you’d like to keep the boxes longer, you can also repurpose them into other products. These include:

Used to store and organise items in drawers. Converted into a cat play area. Put on the floor to protect while painting or remodelling the house. Reused as shipping material. Stored in the basement for later use. In general, there’s really no need to throw away perfectly usable cardboard when you can just recycle or repurpose it instead. Whether you plan to leave those boxes at the curb or count on them for your next major move, think twice before discarding these highly reusable materials.

Step by Step Process of Cardboard Boxes Recycling

Collecting. “Collecting” is the first stage of recycling cardboard. Recycling centers and companies collect the cardboard at designated locations. Most of them include trash bins, stores that sell recycled materials, scrap yards, and other places that generate cardboard waste. Once collected, they are then measured, weighed, and transported to recycling facilities. Some recyclers accept specific kinds of cardboard, while others will not accept any kind of cardboard unless it meets certain criteria. For example, cardboard that is wax coated or used for food packing is not usually accepted because it undergoes a different recycling process.


Corrugated boxes are usually recycled using automated equipment. When sorting them, the material can be separated into two types: corrugated cardboard and corrugated box board. Corrugated cardboard is thicker and stronger than boxboard. Both are recyclable. However, the former is used for making new boxes while the latter is used for making other products like cartons.

Shredding and Pulping

Sorting is followed by shredding. Then comes the pulping process. Pulping breaks down the paper fibers into tiny particles. After pulping, the material is mixed with water and other chemicals to form a liquid mixture. This mixture is then poured into moulds. When the mix hardens, it becomes a solid product.

Filtering Conterminal Removal and DeInking

After the initial washing process, the pulp is put in a large tank filled with chemical agents that help remove the remaining ink or dye from the paper. This process removes the dyes and colors from the pulp, leaving behind the white paper. After this process, the pulp is washed again to remove any residual chemicals. Then the pulp is sent to a high pressure presser that squeezes out any air bubbles left inside the paper. Finally, the pulp is dried using an oven to ensure there are no moisture left in the paper.

Finishing for Reuse

After the cleaning process, the pulp is mixed with new production material and put to dry on a large conveyor belt. Once dried, the pulp is pressed into sheets using an automated machine. These sheets are then glued together to form a new piece of cardboard, and the layers are bonded together using heat and pressure. When the bonding is done, the result is a strong, durable product that can withstand rough handling.

Alternatively, paper companies receive the raw material and turn it into pulp using chemical processes. Pulp is then made into sheets through mechanical processes. Liner-boards are produced by making cuts in the sheet and folding them to form the desired shape. Mediums are made by cutting pieces out of the liner board and gluing them together. Boxboard is made by applying adhesive to the surface of the medium and pressing it against a flat board. The result is a piece of cardboard with a finished edge.

Advantages of Cardboard Boxes Recycling

Helps to Reduce Energy Consumption. Recycling cardboard also reduces energy consumption. By reducing the amount of raw materials required to produce paper products, recycling reduces the need for virgin resources. In addition, the production of recycled paper requires less energy than the production of virgin paper. For example, producing 1 tonne of recycled pulp requires 0.5 tonnes of wood and 1.7 litres of water. However, making 1 tonne of virgin pulp requires 2.4 tonnes of wood and 5.6 litres of water. Therefore, recycled pulp saves more than 50 per cent of the energy consumed in its production.

Improves Health. Recycled cardboard contains less than 10% of the contaminants found in virgin paper. These contaminants include heavy metals, dioxins, PCBs and other toxins. When we recycle cardboard, we are not simply disposing of old newspapers and magazines. We are removing toxic chemicals from our environment.

Environmental Conservation

Recycled cardboard comes in a variety of forms. For example, post-consumer corrugated boxes are made from paper that has already been used to package goods. These boxes are often discarded after the product inside them is sold. Post-consumer corrugated material may be recycled again using processes like fluting, slitting, and gluing. Cardboard is also produced from waste paper, including newspaper, magazines, catalogs, junk mail, and office supplies. Waste paper is shredded and mixed with water and other additives to produce pulp. Pulp is then formed into sheets and dried before being cut into strips. Finally, the strips are slit and glued together to create the finished product.

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