When cardboard is not disposed of properly, it often ends up in landfills, where decomposition can take from 3 months up to several years. In the meantime, it lets off a harmful liquid that contaminates soil and water, posing risks to the ecosystem and human health.
In a world where environmental awareness is crucial, understanding the ecological impact of our actions has never been more essential. With its widespread use in packaging and daily life, cardboard continues to contribute to the global waste crisis.
Finding sustainable solutions for cardboard disposal is crucial to mitigate the ecological consequences by reducing waste and the demand for new raw materials. But what is the best way to get rid of cardboard?
In today’s blog, we will outline the different types of cardboard, the importance of responsible cardboard disposal and how you can get rid of or reuse cardboard. So let’s embrace responsible cardboard disposal practices, and together we can work towards a cleaner, greener future for our planet.
Types of Cardboard
Cardboard is a paper-based material known for its sturdiness and durability. It is made from the fibres of trees and plants and consists of thick sheets of paper pulp or fibrous sheets. There are a few different types of cardboard which we will discuss in detail:
This is the most popular type of cardboard. It consists of two flat outer layers and a wavy inner layer known as corrugation. This corrugated layer provides outstanding structural integrity, making it an excellent packaging material choice. The corrugation acts as a shock absorber, protecting goods during transportation. Due to the high strength-to-weight ratio, corrugated cardboard is widely used in industries that require heavy-duty packing solutions for electronics, furniture and appliances.
Paperboard is commonly used for retail packaging and is thinner and less rigid than corrugated cardboard. Paperboard is versatile and cost-effective, making it a good choice for cereal boxes and cosmetic packaging. While it may not provide the same level of support and durability as corrugated cardboard, the smooth surface is ideal for printing and branding. Furthermore, paperboard is flexible, which makes it suitable for folding and forming different shapes.
Heavier and more durable than paperboard, the thickness of card stock makes it less prone to bending, which is why it is an ideal material for fancy greeting cards, business cards, invitations and books. The stiffness of card stock allows for easy printing, ensures a professional appearance, and comes in various finishes such as gloss and matte.
Ways To Reuse Cardboard
One way to get rid of cardboard responsibly is by finding alternative ways to use it, thus reducing the environmental impact. But what are some ways you can reuse cardboard?
Firstly, cardboard can be transformed into practical storage solutions, whether it be for organising household items and toys or using cardboard tubes to make plant pots. With a little cutting and crafting here and there, it can be turned into custom containers or diy creations.
Secondly, cardboard is an excellent canvas for creating wall art, picture frames or even diy playhouses if you are feeling really artistic. The surface of cardboard can be painted and decorated, allowing endless possibilities.
Lastly, cardboard can be flattened and repurposed as protective padding for shipping, replacing the need for single-use packing materials such as shipping peanuts.
How To Recycle Cardboard
The cardboard recycling process is a crucial part of sustainable waste management. Here is an overview of the cardboard recycling process:
Collection & Sorting: When cardboard waste is collected, it is taken to recycling facilities, where it is then sorted based on the type of cardboard and how clean it is.
Shredding: Once the cardboard is cleaned and sorted, it is shredded into small pieces or pulped, breaking it down into fibres.
Mixing: Shredded cardboard is mixed with water to create a pulp mixture, removing contaminants and large debris.
Cleaning: The pulp is cleaned through several processes to eliminate ink and adhesives.
Drying and forming: The clean pulp is then repulped to create new, raw cardboard material and is dried and formed into sheets which are then cut, rolled and shaped into new cardboard products.
Cardboard recycling brings a multitude of benefits. Firstly, it conserves resources like trees because it reduces the need for virgin, fresh cardboard materials, which means we can protect our forests. Secondly, it keeps a ton of cardboard waste out of landfills, which is excellent news because the decomposition of cardboard can create nasty methane gas.
Cardboard Recycling also consumes far less energy than producing cardboard from scratch, and it plays a vital role in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions related to producing cardboard.
Can Cardboard Be Composted ?
Compostable cardboard plays a vital role in organic waste management as it offers a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to conventional cardboard materials. Unlike regular cardboard, compostable cardboard is made from organic fibres and materials that break down naturally in composting environments.
When composting cardboard, it is essential to use compostable cardboard that has a “compostable” or “biodegradable” label on the cardboard packaging. It would be best if you avoided cardboard with plastic coatings, glossy finished or non-organic additives.
To compost cardboard effectively, tear or shred it into smaller pieces, soak and wet it if needed, and then layer it in your compost pile between green materials like kitchen scraps or grass clippings. This creates a balanced compost pile that decomposes effectively. Another tip: turn or mix the compost pile regularly to introduce oxygen and eliminate foul odours.
Another way to get rid of unwanted cardboard is to give back to the community by donating cardboard boxes and packaging. Seek out nearby organisations such as schools, charities and businesses to see if they accept cardboard donations for art projects, storage or fundraising. We have found a helpful site called Pack share that allows you to find out businesses that require used cardboard
Similarly, contact your local recycling centre to enquire if they have partnerships with organisations that accept recycled cardboard.
Animal shelters may also accept your donation and use cardboard for animal beds. Community gardens also benefit from cardboard by using it as a weed barrier or, as mentioned, to put in with their compost.
Donating cardboard reduces waste, supports local initiatives, and positively impacts your local community.
And there you have it... Thats how to dispose of cardboard no longer needed
So, whether it’s resuing cardboard for a DIY project, recycling it to conserve resources or donating it, the choice we make with disposing of cardboard significantly impacts the environment and our communities.
By embracing responsible practices, we can all promote sustainability and work towards a cleaner, greener future. So, next time you are wondering how to get rid of cardboard, stop and think before you throw it away. One small action is the first step in building a more eco-conscious world.