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Ways to Recycle and Reuse Cardboard

Updated on February 10, 2018
hsschulte profile image

I love to share my favorite ideas from around the web for people out there who like making things as much as I do!

All about Reusing and Recycling Cardboard

On the pathway to living a greener life, many of us have set up recycling containers in our home. But, before we take our recyclables to the recycle center, consider reusing them!

Reusing items at home actually eliminates more waste than recycling, because it puts the item to use without consuming energy expended at a recycling plant. So, take your household cardboard from the recycle bin and see how many reuses you can find for cardboard around your own home.

Reuse or Recycle Cardboard as Garden Mulch
Reuse or Recycle Cardboard as Garden Mulch

Reuse and Recycle Cardboard in the Garden

#1 Way to Reuse Cardboard - Garden

I have been researching ways to reuse things, before recycling them for years, and I can tell you that there are very few things that cannot be put to use in the home garden. Broken down cardboard boxes make excellent garden mulch and can be tacked down and used as pathways through the garden, preventing weeds and limiting the amount of time spent pulling weeds from the garden.

Reuse other Items in the Garden

Mailing Packages to Reuse or Recycle Cardboard

#2 Way to Recycle or Reuse Cardboard Boxes

Receiving them in the mail is probably how you ended up with most of your cardboard boxes in the first place. Don't buy cardboard boxes to ship packages. Put the ones you've already received to good use and send them on their way. If the outside of the box has markings on it, cut a paper bag into a solid sheet of paper and use it to "wrap" the outside of the cardboard box.

Reuse or Recycle Cardboard Boxes for Storage

#3 Way to Reuse Cardboard - Storing Your Clutter

Use your cardboard boxes to organize your clutter, or your out of season items such as winter coats. Clearly mark on the outside of the box the contents, so you'll remember just what is in it. Smaller cardboard boxes can be decorated with contact paper and used to store magazines, crafts and other household items.

Magazine Holder from a Cardboard Box

#4 Way to Reuse Cardboard

Lightweight cardboard boxes, the type that cereal and crackers come in, can be used for creating a magazine holder. This is a quick and easy project for ages 6 and up. The instruction below involve painting, but you can jazz up the box by gluing paper to it too.

Magazine Holder from a Cardboard Box

Recycle an Old Cardboard Shoe Box in a Pirate's Treasure Box

#5 Way to Reuse Cardboard - Make a Treasure Box

Recycle and old cardboard Shoe Box into a Pirate's Treasure Box. Kids love this make-believe treasure box. No need to buy expensive craft supplies to make it, simply recycle!

Pirate Treasure Box

How to Make a Lap Desk for the Car

#6 Way to Reuse or Recycle Cardboard

Travel Lap Desk with Wipe-off Top - Keep your kids busy during long car rides!

You'll need:

Large sturdy cardboard box.

Shipping Tape

Empty Snack Food Container such as Fruit Roll Up or Granola Bars


Glue Gun


Gift Boxes

# 7 Way to Reuse Cardboard

With a little decoration, you can make a shoebox that is destined for the trash into something valuable. Use decorated shoe boxes for storage or gift giving. Make it a little fancier, by creating a *fliptop* box from an old shoebox by following these directions at Lovely Little Life.

What do YOU do with Your Cardboard?

See results

Cardboard Box Reuse by Sadlers Cartoons

Got some tips or questions, feel free to leave them here. You'll get a reply soon!

© 2010 hsschulte

Put Your Ideas and Comments on Cardboard Recycling ... - Here!

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    • profile image

      Zaiyah 3 years ago

      Keep it coming, wrsteri, this is good stuff.

    • profile image

      paperplastic 5 years ago

      Great design! pretty nice lens

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 5 years ago

      Absolutely fabulous lens! We have started a small business at home and need to post items. I've decided to go to the recycling bins and pick out some cardboard to make our own boxes from!!! We reuse pretty much everything in our house!

    • EcoLogik profile image

      EcoLogik 5 years ago

      Great lens. Useful info.

    • profile image

      TinTeddy 5 years ago

      Some great ideas, thank you for sharing

    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 5 years ago

      Since I don't have much storage in my home, I don't keep anything I don't need at the moment. I really love all your ideas to reuse and recycle cardboard! Kudos!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I save some boxes for mailing things (books I sell on Amazon), but most goes to recycling. You have some great cardboard crafts here.

      I had an article on eHow (actually still there) called How to Cover a Box with Fabric. It was quite popular.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 6 years ago

      What a great idea to make a lap desk!

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 6 years ago from East Central Florida

      I think I will try making a magazine holder - that's areally nice idea!

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I use it as a lightweight board for my artist's easel. Great ideas - Angel Blessings from me

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I use it as a lightweight board for my artist's easel. Great ideas - Angel Blessings from me

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I use it as a lightweight board for my artist's easel. Great ideas - Angel Blessings from me

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 6 years ago from Iowa

      I have a gallery that gets in tons of cardboard but since I ship out as well I simply reuse it. I love all the ideas you've presented for recycling on a in- home basis.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Great uses for cardboard. I reuse packing boxes and decoupage shoe boxes for storage and what I don't use, I recycle.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I either use it for storage locally, or put it in local recycle in the condo. It's got to be seriously falling apart or contaminated (really greasy pizza, etc) before I'll just trash it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Hey I have reviewed your squidoo lens and I really liked it. Because of this I went ahead and âlikeâ you on squidoo. Giving your lens another like.

      When you have time, please take a look at my lens. It is located at

      If you like my lens, please add a like to my lens as well. I am new to squidoo and I would appreciate any comments at all.

    • FunkyJewelleryUK profile image

      FunkyJewelleryUK 6 years ago

      Sweet lens. Nice ideas! :)

    • profile image

      marsha32 7 years ago

      I wouldn't have thought of the garden idea, but that's a great one!

      Another A+ lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Hi, my name is judith, im totally in love with recycling and reusing. ive recently used the cardboard printer cartridge boxes for making a shoe/ magazine/book rack. You just need to put 2 or 3 boxes on top of each other, with the opening facing you, stick them together using a tape, and then cover the entire thing using old (glossy) newspaper/ magazine pages or old gift wrapping paper. This can also double up as a table.let me know what you think of this.