Cardboard Recycling – What you need to know

Most businesses now recognise the importance of recycling and are keen to fully engage in recycling practices. Recycling has thankfully become the norm and is great for any business’s environmental and ethical credentials. Recycling is good for business because it attracts customers, meets legislation, is good for the environment and can help an organisation to reduce waste. Cardboard recycling is just one element of good recycling practice, but for many businesses, it is an important one.

What is cardboard?

Cardboard is, in effect, heavy-duty paper. Its most common use is as packing material and is available in single layer sheets but is more commonly found in different corrugated forms with flat faces surrounding s-shaped flutes. Cardboard is a recycling success story and is now made with a high percentage of recycled fibres.

Why is cardboard easy to recycle?

Cardboard is prime material for recycling because the fibres that it is made from have already been processed once from trees.

The Benefits of Recycling Cardboard

Recycling 1 tonne of cardboard can save up to 17 trees, reduce the demand for landfill and because cardboard recycling does not incur landfill tax, it can also save your business money.

What happens to recycled cardboard?

When cardboard arrives at a recycling centre it is first sorted and baled removing any contamination such as plastic and string. Whilst paper can be recycled with cardboard, it is important to keep grades separate as these will go into different products after recycling. The bales are then stored undercover in our 40,000 square foot warehouse. Once a full load of 25 tonnes of baled cardboard is in stock it is then sent to the board mills for pulping. This involves crushing the cardboard into tiny pieces and mixing it with water and chemicals that will turn it into a pulp. This recycled pulp is then mixed with a small proportion of new pulp made from wood chips. This mixture now goes through a series of filtering, chemical and centrifugal processes which eliminate tape, metals, plastics and ink. The cleaned pulp is now dried and pressed to form long sheets. These sheets are glued together to make new cardboard.

How will recycling cardboard benefit my business?

Recycling is not always the easiest of solutions with educating your staff, commercial recycling costs, space implications and contamination all being issues. However, cardboard is amongst the easiest of materials to pack down, store and send for recycling. The benefits of all types of recycling are similar: environmental protection, legal obligation and business reputation being amongst these.

Can I mix different grades of cardboard in a recycling load?

Different grades of cardboard can be recycled together providing the whole load is dry and not contaminated with food, grease or chemicals.

Can I mix cardboard recycling with paper recycling?

In general, corrugated cardboard is recycled separately from paper. To achieve the best quality it is always best to collect and recycle the two grades separately.

Can I recycle Tetra Pak cardboard?

Tetra Paks are plastic coated cartons that commonly contain milk or juices. Whilst they are made of 80% paper-based materials, they also contain plastic and sometimes hidden metal. They cannot be recycled with a normal single sheet or corrugated cardboard loads,

What should I do if I have a large amount of cardboard to recycle?

Talk to a specialised waste management company such as Bolton Brothers. A typical week at Bolton Brothers will see us process between 750 – 1000 tonnes per week of waste cardboard alone! Just like business waste we will advise on the best options available to you.

Cardboard’s recycling credentials are good and with high proportions of new products containing recycled fibres, it is one of the recycling success stories of this century.

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