While cardboard is predominantly used in packaging – from coffee cups to cereal boxes – it’s also used in various other industries. In fact, you could probably find some cardboard in every single home or business place in the country. As a result, it must be disposed of safely.
Cardboard is typically classified as recyclable waste. This is because the recycling process for cardboard is straightforward to carry out.
Records suggest that cardboard was first invented in the 15th Century in China. However, Cardboard boxes/products were not produced commercially in the UK until the early 1800s. Initially, cardboard had a variety of other uses aside from packaging. For example, it was once used to line hats and shoes, providing them with additional structure (and sometimes height).
What are they made from, and how are they made?
Cardboard is a form of paper, though it is much more durable and designed for heavy-duty use. However, its origins mean that it is manufactured similarly to paper. This means that cardboard is made from pulp from timber.
The process of making cardboard is relatively straightforward. It is made by pressing together a series of moist fibres (pulp) before they are dried into thin sheets. The cardboard sheets are then layered on top of each other and attached with glue until they reach their desired thickness. Typically, cardboard has a thickness of 4.8mm.
As mentioned previously, cardboard is relatively easy to dispose of. As a result, it can often be disposed of alongside the rest of your dry mixed recycling, such as paper and plastic products. However, if you produce large volumes of cardboard waste, you may wish to store it separately. To dispose of Cardboard waste, you should:
When it arrives at a recycling facility, cardboard is shredded into tiny pieces to make the bulky waste easier to manage. It is then mixed with water and a series of chemicals to create a slurry. Eventually, this will form recycled pulp. In some cases, wood chips are also added to strengthen the pulp. The pulp is then filtered, eliminating contaminants such as ink or tape from the mixture before it is dried and pressed into sheets. These sheets can then be used to make new cardboard.
Since it can be recycled multiple times over, it is a rather sustainable choice for many businesses. However, there are alternative sustainable products that can also be used for packaging purposes, such as:
Thankfully, as cardboard products are so versatile, you have plenty of opportunities to reuse them instead of simply throwing them away. For example, cardboard boxes or packaging can be used for storage or arts and crafts projects. Furthemore, cardboard can also be used for several furniture upcycling projects. Alternatively, shredded cardboard can be added to your compost heap.
From an environmental perspective, there is no good reason as to why you should not recycle cardboard. For example, recycling just one tonne of cardboard frees upwards of 9 yards of landfill space, which is already limited. As a result, businesses should be prepared to spend a little more money to ensure their waste is recycled when possible. At Business Waste, we ensure that the entire process is as cost-effective as possible for our clients. To start, we’ll provide you with a free quote for all of your disposal needs, alongside free bins to store your waste in before collection. We can also give you advice on reducing cardboard waste, saving you a great deal of money.
A recent study has found that we use around 12.5 million tonnes of both paper and cardboard in the UK each year. This is usually in the form of packaging waste.
It’s estimated that the average UK household will throw away approximately 13,000 cardboard products each year.
According to a recent report from the UOCB Environmental Centre, around 17,000 tonnes of cardboard are sent to landfill sites each year.
Once the recycling process begins, the new cardboard products can be back on shelves again in as little as two weeks.
There are many benefits to recycling cardboard. For example, it helps slow down deforestation rates by lessening the demand for wood. Additionally, it cuts down on all materials needed for production, saving both water and energy. Furthermore, it decreases the strain we place on landfills.
Cardboard has the highest recycling rate of all paper-based products.
Due to the fact that cardboard is so easy to recycle, there are various places where you can do so for free. For example, you can drop off your cardboard waste at local supermarkets or waste disposal sites, where it will then be recycled. Alternatively, you could take them to the recycling site yourself.