Recycling is a vital part of helping ensure that our world stays clean and free of excess trash and debris. Everyone can do their part to help recycle, and it doesn't just have to consist of aluminum soda cans or glass bottles. In fact, cardboard can also be recycled, and Americans go through several tons of this thick, brown board-like paper every year without even realizing it. As a good steward for the environment, you can do your part by recycling cardboard, which is an easy way to help out.
There are two basic types of cardboard: flat and corrugated. Flat cardboard can be anything from cereal to macaroni and cheese boxes. Corrugated cardboard is usually much thicker, with a layer of folded cardboard in between, and is often used for packages. First, you'll want to sort out your cardboard and separated by flat and corrugated. You will also want to be sure the type of cardboard you're choosing is actually able to be recycled. Sometimes, waxed cardboard is not accepted, as well as some forms of the heavier, corrugated type. Check with your local recycling center and find out which forms of cardboard are able to be brought in for recycling.
- How to Recycle Cardboard – Simple, step-by-step directions for recycling cardboard.
- Quick Tips – A quick list of things to keep in mind, as well as a recycler locator at the top of the page.
- Paper Recycling Basics – This page includes all sorts of information about recycling, even other forms of paper.
- Corrugated Cardboard – More in-depth information about recycling corrugated cardboard.
- How-To Guide – A good example of how to recycle cardboard in your own neighborhood.
Locating a Recycling Center
Most localities have their own recycling facilities, however this is not always the case. Sometimes, you may have to enlist the help of local businesses, and partner up with them in your cardboard recycling efforts. Since most large and small companies have an influx of cardboard coming in and out, they'd probably be glad to assist you with your own recycling. If not, you'll want to find out where you can drop off the cardboard, or schedule someone to come by and pick it up. Some cities offer cardboard recycling as part of their overall programs, so call your city and find out more information.
- Find a Center – Enter your zip code to find a recycling center near your home.
- Paper/Cardboard – Select cardboard to the right of the screen, and then enter your zip code to find a local center.
- Recycling in Your Community – Another site that offers a find-a-center service.
- Locating a Center – Some advice on how to find a center, as well as what they usually accept.
- iRecycle – This handy iPhone application lets you find a drop off place or recycling center, no matter where you are.
Process in Which Cardboard is Recycled
You may wonder what happens once you drop your cardboard off to the recycling center. First, the center will make sure it has been sorted properly. If not, it gets sorted before going on to the next step, which is heading to the mill, where it begins a pulping process. This turns the cardboard into a mushy substance. Wood chips are sometimes added to give it more structure. This new mixture is used for linerboard, which is the interior structure of cardboard. The linerboards are glued together, forming layer after layer of paper until a new piece of cardboard is formed. Then, the cardboard is shaped and printed for use with other things. These newly recycled cardboard things can vary from packing boxes to frozen entrees.
- Recycling Process – This page explains the process of recycling cardboard.
- How & Tips – A brief explanation of how cardboard is recycled, as well as some helpful tips.
- Recycling Process – Describes where the cardboard comes from, where it goes, and the process.
- Cardboard & Other Materials – A brief overview of how cardboard is recycled as well as other materials.
- Facts – This article contains facts, uses, and the significance of recycling cardboard boxes.
How Cardboard is Re-used
The cardboard that is taken to the recycling center can have a myriad of different uses once it's been recycled. Packing boxes are very common, as well as food containers that you see in the grocery store. Other uses now include art and furniture, as more people are finding new ways to use this material. Some people keep cardboard boxes to serve as organizers in their homes, or even a reusable trashcan. Artists enjoy cardboard as well, since it is very easy to work with and is durable.
- Artwork and Furniture – Some photos and examples of people re-using cardboard for artwork and to make furniture.
- 10 Ways to Reuse Cardboard – Here are ten ways people can reuse cardboard.
- Ways to Recycle & Reuse – Some more creative ways people can recycle cardboard.
- Crafts Projects – Some children's crafts using paper and cardboard.
- More Crafts – A few more creative ways you can use cardboard.