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Corrugated Box Recycling Tips

Corrugated cardboard is popularly used to make boxes for shipping due to low production costs. For this reason, corrugated boxes need to be resistant to damage and lightweight. The popularity of corrugated boxes in businesses across the United States  

Benefits of Recycling

The benefits of recycling cardboard are vast. For instance, recycling a single ton of cardboard can save 17 trees. Recycled corrugated cardboard can then be used to make chipboard for things like cereal boxes, paper towels, tissues, and printing paper. Of course, it can also be re-used to make more corrugated cardboard.

The pulp used to create cardboard can create sulfur dioxide, which is the gas that causes acid rain. By recycling cardboard, this cuts the pollution of acid rain in half. In addition, businesses that recycle corrugated boxes can reduce their disposal costs, since used corrugated is no longer treated as trash.

Water 360 states that the extensive use of corrugated boxes in the U.S. makes them the biggest manufactured product in the waste stream by weight. According to Earth 911, cardboard is safe to dispose of as is has no toxic constituents and is biodegradable. This fully-recyclable product is comprised of corrugated fiber paper that lies between sturdy sheets of cardboard. Used corrugated boxes are the largest source of waste paper for recycling.  

The Recycling Process
  • Collection: Whether you participate in curbside pickup or take the cardboard directly to the recycling facility, cardboard needs to be transported.
  • Sorting: Once the boxes have arrived at the recycling facility, they are sorted into boxboard and corrugated cardboard. Boxboard is a non-coated type of cardboard that is thin and typically used on cereal boxes and drink containers. Corrugated cardboard is commonly used in packing boxes for the transportation of goods.
  • Pulping: The sorted cardboard is soaked in a mixture of chemicals and water that break down the fibers into a pulp, which are later combined with wood chips to solidify the fibers.
  • Filtering/De-Inking: The pulp is filtered to remove strains of foreign materials like ink and glue.
  • Finishing: The cleaned pulp is fed through a machine that removes excess water and creates a flat sheet called a linerboard, which is then shipped to manufacturers to become another cardboard box.
How To Recycle Corrugated Boxes

Find out how to recycle corrugated cardboard in your neighborhood:
  • Check with your community curbside recycling program. Some recycling programs have a drop off center for corrugated materials. If not, check with your local supermarkets.
  • Break down the cardboard boxes so they lay flat. Depending on your community's program, you may be able to mix in cardboard with paper, or you may have to separate it into a paper bag. Fully flattened materials are easier to transport and process through cardboard recycling machinery, reducing the overall cost of recycling.

For more information on corrugated boxes, click here to browse our resource page.

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