Cardboard Recycling: 10 Things You Need To Know

by | Mar 25, 2021 | Paper shredding machine supplier, Shredding service

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Cardboard recycling is so important to protect our environment. However, it could be the case that you think your business is environmentally friendly through disposing cardboard bales correctly, when in fact, you might be sending the recyclable materials to landfill or incineration.

For example, any cardboard which is tossed into a dry mixed recycling (DMR) bin could go straight to incineration. This is because the cardboard has been contaminated by the waste it mixes within the bin. To recycle paper waste, you will need a cardboard crusher, but that’s just a first stem in cardboard recycling process.

While incineration is better than sending paper and cardboard to landfill (more on waste streams below), we miss the opportunity to recycle the cardboard in an efficient way which benefits both the business and the environment.

Cardboard is used in a variety of ways across our society, but especially within the logistical, supply chain and warehousing industry, paper and cardboard is used to package goods and deliver safely to customers. Therefore, it’s likely your business receives and processes a high quantity of commercial cardboard into its premises each day using balers and compactors.

Recycling cardboard provides many benefits, both to your business and the environment, so our local recycling team here at the Inspire Waste Management have collated the 10 things you need to know about cardboard recycling waste management solution.

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1. Is Cardboard Recyclable?

Yes, cardboard is recyclable. Whether it is being used in the home or at work, the packaging has been designed, so we can keep recycling at every opportunity. Indeed, cardboard packaging will often be recycled up to five times.

There are two types of cardboard which are recyclable:

  • Paperboard is a thin material predominately used for our domestic use, such as cereal boxes, juice cartons, shoe boxes and so on.
  • Corrugated cardboard is a stronger and thicker material used for heavier items like Amazon deliveries, furniture packaging etc.

2. What are the benefits of cardboard recycling?

There are many benefits, both economical and environmental, to cardboard recycling.

  • Every ton of recycled cardboard saves 9 cubic yards of landfill space (landfills create air and water pollution within the local environment).
  • Reduce greenhouse gasses which otherwise would be caused by the cardboard going to landfill spaces.
  • 1 tonne of recycled cardboard can save up to 17 trees from being cut down (See our article about ‘How to save money by recycling‘).
  • Recycling and waste management is a labour intense process, so we help to create jobs by recycling cardboard.
  • Paper and cardboard recycling reduces carbon emissions used to import paper and cardboard from overseas.
  • Cardboard recycling can become a revenue generator for your business.
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3. How does cardboard recycling benefit my business?

Each year the UK generates approximately 200 million metric tonnes of waste (see GOV UK statistics on Waste). However, since household and commercial cardboard waste recycling has become more common, there is an expectation from consumers and employees that businesses recycle their waste too. It is considered a business’s ethical duty to reduce waste to landfill and utilise recycling and waste management especially these days when net zero waste plan has been championed by the government.

Luckily for business owners, cardboard is one of the easiest materials to send for recycling.

Cardboard disposal through waste recycling benefits include:

  • Positive brand image for both customers and employees.
  • Reduce waste collection costs.
  • If business recycles there is a potential for rebate fees.
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4. How do I send my cardboard waste for recycling?

It is important to educate your employees where their cardboard waste should be placed. Colour coded refuse wheelie bins will provide clear signage for employees to separate their waste
correctly. Informing employees why you are recycling, and indeed the types that cardboard can be recycled is important too.

Some key tips to identify the best way to recycle cardboard waste include:

  • Designate responsibility to a staff member to coordinate cardboard and paper recycling.
  • Place information signage throughout the premises.
  • Create a waste collection schedule and identify locations to store cardboard for recycling.
  • It might be more effective to place the cardboard for recycling in a mechanical bale. Contact our team to discuss your individual requirements.

5. Can I recycle cardboard food boxes and drink cartons?

All cardboard is recyclable, but when it comes to our food and drink packaging, the rules may be different. This is because some of the cardboard packaging could be coated with a substance which will prevent them from being added to your cardboard recycling collection points.

To recycle your cardboard correctly, check the packaging for the recycling symbol. If the cardboard is recyclable, make sure to remove any food or drink from the packaging.

If your employees frequently eat their lunch on your business premises, then we recommend you create separate recycling bins for cardboard and other waste disposal. It is also worth delegating the task to an office manager or administrator to educate their colleagues on what cardboard is recyclable and why.

6. Can I recycle pizza boxes?

Whether it is a family evening in or the team are pulling a late night, pizza is a sure-fire winner to satisfy those hungry bellies. You can add pizza boxes to your cardboard recycling collection, provided you:

  • Exclude any packaging smeared in grease.
  • Remove any food items from the packaging.
  • Keep the cardboard boxes safe and dry before waste collection day.

7. Can you recycle shiny cardboard?

Most of the cardboard in use is suitable for recycling. However, any cardboard which is covered in glitter (Birthday or Christmas cards, for example), velvet or foil cannot be recycled by a recycling company. Shiny cardboard can be recycled, but please check the packaging for the recycling symbol first to make sure (recycling symbols explained).

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8. Does tape need to be removed from cardboard for recycling?

It is generally acceptable to leave tape used for sealing purposes on the cardboard, along with postal labels and stickers, as they are removed during the recycling process. However, please remember to remove any items, such as polypropylene ties, bubble wrap or any foreign items included within the packaging.

9. Can cardboard be recycled if it gets wet?

Wet cardboard generally isn’t accepted for recycling because the moisture weakens the cardboard fibres and increases the weight of the cardboard. This reduces the value for paper and cardboard recycling centres. Our recommendation is to flatten your cardboard boxes and store them somewhere dry before collection day.

10. Cardboard recycling services near me

Inspire Waste Management from Gateshead provides cardboard recycling services and other total waste management services across the North East England region: we provide cardboard recycling services for Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland, Durham, Middlesbrough and surrounding areas. We also have local depots located across the UK, so no matter where you’re from, we can recycle your cardboard in no time. Our cardboard recycling prices vary depending on multiple factors, so please give our friendly team a call on 0800 002 9282 or email for more details. Alternatively, click the button below for a quote.

Inspire Waste Management offers waste services anywhere in the UK

Our experienced, expert staff will help you navigate the complex rules for dealing with hazardous waste, electronic and electrical waste, and confidential waste.

We’ll help you get the best price for bulk recycling, and get the right skips, tankers, compactors, or balers for your business.

We’ll also help you make the most of your budget with our waste consultancy and project planning and transparent, flat rate quotes.

So, when it comes to your waste, it pays to get Inspire-d!

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