Cardboard is both recyclable and biodegradable, though it is always best to recycle! Companies like to recycle cardboard because it takes away from their waste expenses. Households like to recycle cardboard because it can be done without a lot of work.
When recycling cardboard, whether at work or at home, keep in mind there are a few types of cardboard that are unable to be recycled. Be sure to only recycle appropriate cardboard. Mixing bad cardboard in with good cardboard can contaminate and ruin an entire load. Some of the types of cardboard that you should not recycle may surprise you.
1. Pizza Boxes A pizza box is made of corrugated cardboard, which in and of itself can be recycled. Once pizza soils the box it is ruined for recycling. The grease and cheese that coats the bottom of the box can contaminate an entire load of good cardboard. If you are able to salvage the part of the box that does not have food on it you can recycle that. The dirty part of the box should be thrown in the trash.
2. To-Go Boxes Take-out food containers are made of a light type of cardboard. Since these boxes contain food, they are automatically soiled and not able to be recycled.
3. Plastic-Lined Cardboard Some types of cardboard boxes used in grocery stores are lined with polyethylene. These boxes often hold produce and can be cold or frozen. Other types of cardboard are lined with bubble wrap. Neither of these are able to be recycled.
4. Waxed Cardboard If you take your nail and run it along the cardboard and wax comes off, the item cannot be recycled. These containers typically are smooth and shiny. Examples of waxed cardboard items are ice cream cartons and milk or juice boxes.
5. Wet Cardboard Depending on your cardboard recycling company, they may not take wet cardboard. Be sure to keep your cardboard dry to ensure that you can recycle it!
When you recycle your cardboard, break down your boxes first. This is done by cutting, slicing, or tearing along the edges to make the box flat. Breaking down boxes saves a lot of space in your recycling container, which means that you have room for more cardboard. Don't worry about removing tape or staples. These things are okay to leave on the boxes.
When you recycle cardboard it will likely be used to make more cardboard. Cardboard can be recycled many times and stay strong. Chances are your cardboard box has been recycled several times already!
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