Paper and cardboard are produced from tree fibres and represent a large part of the waste stream. Most cardboard is produced from recycled paper and it can be recycled many times over. There are opportunities to recycle cardboard and paper, both at home and at your workplace.
Why Recycle Cardboard?
When cardboard breaks down in landfill it creates methane, a major greenhouse gas with the global warming capacity 21 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Cardboard is one of the easiest and most environmentally effective materials to recycle since the fibre in cardboard has already been processed. Therefore making cardboard products from recycled material, rather than virgin fibre, saves not only trees, but also large amounts of water (up to 99% less) and energy (up to 50% less). Manufacturing from recycled material also produces up to 90% less byproducts such as chemical wastes. For these reasons, it is important to recycle your cardboard and whenever possible to buy paper and cardboard products with recycled content. For each kilogram of cardboard recycled, you save up to one kilogram of greenhouse gases.
What Happens to Cardboard?
Cardboard can be recycled along with paper and is remade into many different kinds of paper products. Recycled cardboard can also be made into sound-proofing material, insulation and even furniture. Every time paper is processed the individual fibres become weaker, limiting the number of times it can be recycled – usually up to eight times. Paper that has been recycled as many times as the fibres will allow is turned into compost and breaks down naturally.