By Joan Whetzel
Cardboard recycling is as big a deal these days as paper recycling. Instead of using boxes once, then crushing them to send off to the landfill, anyone, including businesses, can find ways to add their packing and shipping boxes to the piles of recyclable paper. The increase in government guidelines for recycling in general has contributed to the increase in cardboard recycling. This has led to a decrease in the amount of cardboard and paper products in America's landfills. So what are some good ways to go about recycling cardboard waste?
The Recycling Process
The cardboard recycling process is similar to recycling paper. First, the cardboard is soaked in water and stirred to return it to a pulp, after which the impurities are removed. Next, the cardboard pulp is dried and compressed into cardboard sheets which are cut and shaped into boxes again. Cardboard can be recycled up to 5 times before the fibers start to break down.
Types of Cardboard that Can Be Recycled
Only two types of cardboard can be recycled, the corrugated and the flat types. Corrugated cardboard is a heavy brown cardboard, double-layered, and has a rippled layer pressed between the two outer layers. The corrugated variety is ideal for packing and shipping because of its sturdiness. Flat cardboard is thin. It is frequently painted and waxed, and is used for paper plates, gift boxes, and food boxes (sodas, cereals, prepackaged foods).
Prepping Cardboard for Recycling
The waxy layer added to the flat cardboard means this type of cardboard must be recycled differently than the corrugated variety. Consumers are asked to bundle them separately before placing them with their curbside recycling or taking them to the recycling center. Small and medium corrugated boxes are to be flattened and stacked. Larger corrugated boxes must be cut down to smaller pieces about 24 by 48 inches inside. It’s always good to check first with the company that picks up your recycling and trash for additional information.
Businesses are required to dispose of corrugated cardboard by crushing and bundling the boxes for bulk disposal at cardboard recycling centers. The benefits of recycling for businesses include money savings thanks to the lower cost of recycling cardboard over creating new cardboard and payments received for cardboard sent to the recycler.
Cardboard is the largest component that fills up our landfills, recycling it a far more sensible solution. Businesses use boxes for product shipping making them the largest market for cardboard recycling programs and the purchasing of recycled cardboard.
Listed below are a some the Houston area’s recycling service centers offering cardboard recycling. Check in your community to locate the recycling centers nearest you. If you're new to an area, talk with your trash pickup to find out if they offer curbside pickup first.
Katy Recycling Center
1011 Katyland Drive
Houston Recycling Paper Service
5912 Crane St
5773 Woodway Dr, #113
1211 College Ave
South Houston, TX
6969 Clinton Dr
9590 Clay Rd