Can you recycle cardboard boxes?

How Are Cardboard Boxes Recycled?
September 29, 2015 – 02:37 pm

Most corrugated boxes are recycled.Most corrugated boxes are recycled.

"Cardboard" is a term we often use for many types of boxes and containers, but it isn't used in the paper industry, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (see References 1, page 39). Corrugated boxes constituted the largest single component of municipal solid waste in 2009 - 11.2 percent - as well as the largest category of of materials Americans recovered 81.3 percent of corrugated boxes for recycling (see References 1, page 95). Recyclers separate corrugated boxes from other paper because paper mills produce different grades of material, depending on what is being recovered (see References 2, page 2).

Making Pulp

Businesses or recycling centers collect, sort and bale old corrugated containers, and send them to paper mills. The opened bales go into a repulper, filled with water, which agitates the boxes until they form a fiber slurry. (See References 3 and 4)

Contaminant Removal

A chain or rope hanging in the repulper catches many contaminants, such as strings or tape. The remaining pulp goes through other equipment where contaminants such as metal fall to the bottom, or lighter materials, such as plastic, float to the top for removal. (See References 3 and 4)

Making Paper

The cleaned pulp goes into a paper machine, where much of the remaining water drains off through a moving screen, forming a fiber mat. The mat moves between rollers that squeeze out more water, as well as heated cylinders, before it is dry enough to wind on large spools. Rewinding the paper into rolls for shipping to box manufacturers completes the recycling process. (See References 3 and 4)

Making New Boxes

Manufacturers can use recycled paper for the flat liner sheets, as well as the corrugated ridged or fluted medium between these liners, to make new corrugated boxes. The Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry reports that although the recycled content of the liner paperboard used for corrugated boxes can be 100 percent, most has 35 percent recycled content (see References 5, page 3).

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Popular Q&A
Can used pizza boxes be recycled as cardboard?

Yes, a used pizza box can be recycled to be used as cardboard. People often use them to slide under cars to change oil.

How can you convince your company to recycle cardboard boxes for truck? | Yahoo Answers

I deal with problems like this on a daily basis, and I have found that the best way to convince anyone to change their practices is to show them how it will benefit their operation. Start with the cost of garbage collection vs. recyclable collection. Some haulers even include recyling costs in with their garbage collection fees. Cardboard takes up alot of volume, your company might even be able to reduce the size of their dumpster. Then, stress the social aspect of it. Put a cost-benefit analysis together for your supervisor or whoever you need to convince that the idea is worth persuin…

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