How To Recycle Cardboard

The thought of dealing with a pile of cardboard boxes can seem pretty daunting. Trust us, with over 300 box styles to choose from, we understand. That’s why we’ve put together a quick primer on corrugated cardboard and the best ways to recycle it. Read on for more. 

flattened cardboard boxes placed in a blue container marked "recycle"

Corrugated Cardboard: What Is It & How Do You Recycle It?

Corrugated cardboard is a thick paper material made up of three primary layers firmly pressed together. The first and last layers are usually seamless and flat while the middle layer is stiff with an arched fluted shape. Often, you will find corrugated cardboard as the primary material in boxes for shipping or storage. 

The Classic Cardboard Box

A common box style that you may be familiar with is the basic cardboard box or as we like to call it, a Regular Slotted Container (RSC). RSC Boxes are defined by their highly efficient slotted flap design and exceptionally sturdy corrugated construction. They are often available in white or natural kraft and used for mailing, moving, or storage. Today, we’re going to use them as our example of how to break down and recycle corrugated cardboard! Check it out. 

How To Break Down An RSC Cardboard Box In 2 Steps

  1. First, strip the box of any plastic tape. Simply flip your box upside down and slice your box cutter along the center seam of your packing tape. Firmly grasp the edge of your tape and remove it from the surface of your box. Repeat with the opposite box end.
  2. Next, twist and push until flat. Once your packing tape has been completely removed, your overall box construction should feel a little more flexible. Lightly twist and push your box sides until it collapses and flattens.

General Corrugated Cardboard Recycling Tips

When it comes to disposing of unknown materials, it’s always best to defer to your local recycling programs. However, if you were looking to dispose of your corrugated cardboard quickly, here are a couple of general tips to keep in mind. 

  • Tip 1: Don’t Forget About The Labels  | The plastic materials used within address labels or shipping tape may come already attached to your corrugated cardboard and render it unacceptable. To make sure your cardboard is able to be appropriately recycled, remove any plastic or non-paper materials from the surface.
  • Tip 2: When In Doubt, Flatten It Out | While lightweight and easy to manage, items like cardboard shipping or moving boxes can be big and bulky, which can make the overall recycling process difficult. Before you dispose of your cardboard container, empty the contents fully, break your box down, then flatten or compress it so it is easy to manage. 

Paper Mart Corrugated Cardboard

Our selection of corrugated cardboard containers and cushioning materials is massive. From heavy duty boxes for shipping to flexible sheets for cushioning, we’ve got it all. Explore our selection today!

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