Why Do we Recycle Cardboard? The Benefits of Recycling Cardboard

In this guide from the SL Recycling team we discuss the importance of recycling cardboard and the vast array of benefits it provides.

Is Cardboard Recyclable?

Yes, cardboard is one of the most commonly recycled materials in the UK. As cardboard is made of paper (which is made of natural wood fibres), it is an ideal material to recycle.

Corrugated cardboard and grey paperboard are the two most common forms of cardboard and are used for paper boxes and packaging material.

Numerous types of cardboard, including boxes, tubes and dishes, can be recycled and thus reused and repurposed. However, if the cardboard has been contaminated with grease or oil – like a pizza box, for example, it cannot be recycled.

How is Cardboard Recycled?

The exact cardboard recycling process will vary from recycling company to recycling company, but here’s a step by step guide demonstrating the key processes:

Collection

The first step in recycling cardboard is to collect the materials and transport them to the recycling centre.

Sorting

The materials will then be sorted into different types of cardboard. This is important because not all cardboard is the same – different types are made from different materials and undergo different processes – and certain types can only be recycled into certain products.

Shredding

Once sorted, the cardboard is shredded into smaller pieces.

Pulping

The shredded materials are pulped (mixed with and soaked in water) to soften the cardboard.

Filtering

Any foreign materials that have been mixed up with the cardboard (such as tape or plastic packaging) are filtered and removed.

Mixed with Water

The materials will then be mixed with water again in order to get it to the right consistency for its new use. Chemicals can also be added to provide the cardboard with certain characteristics.

Pressed, Rolled & Dried

The cardboard usually contains a lot of water at this stage, so it needs to be rolled and pressed to squeeze it out.

Converted to New Cardboard

The materials are then cut to size, layered to make thicker cardboard and separated into rolls, ready for shipping.

Benefits of Recycling Cardboard

Recycling cardboard offers a wealth of ecological and economic benefits.

Reduce Landfill

One of the most significant benefits of recycling cardboard is that it reduces the volume of waste sent to landfill. Landfill sites are notoriously harmful to the local environment through air and water pollution, so by recycling more cardboard, less ends up in landfill which thus lessens the damaging effects.

This is something we’re extremely passionate about here at SL Recycling. As a leading waste management and recycling organisation, we continually strive towards zero-waste-to-landfill through our wide range of waste minimisation, re-using and recycling methods. In fact, we currently recycle approximately 92% of all the materials we handle, focussing on diverting as much waste as possible away from landfill.

Reduce Greenhouse Gases

By reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill, the amount of greenhouse gases emitted is also reduced. If cardboard was to be sent to landfill, it would release methane (a greenhouse gas) as the material is broken down, which can have a powerful and detrimental impact on the earth’s climate. However, by instead recycling cardboard, the amount of greenhouse gasses released into the environment is heavily reduced.

Save Energy

Recycling cardboard saves a considerable amount of energy. Virgin materials require higher levels of energy to process because more work is needed to produce them – however, a lot of this energy can be saved by recycling existing cardboard.

Save Trees

Another reason it is important to recycle cardboard waste for the production of new cardboard is because it saves a lot of trees. As a result, this helps to prevent deforestation and protect the forests and the wildlife that lives in them. It is also beneficial to oxygen levels and healthy ecosystems.

Creates Job Opportunities

Recycling is a labour-intensive procedure that involves a whole host of activities like collection, sorting, processing, admin, sales and logistics. This, in turn, creates plenty of job opportunities, which also adds to economic stability and growth.

Wide Range of Uses

Recycled cardboard can be used for many different purposes, such as cereal boxes, paper towels, tissues and paperboard.

Cardboard Recycling with SL Recycling

At SL Recycling, we specialise in recycling cardboard at our state of the art facilities in South Wales.

If your business is looking to achieve maximum revenues for your waste cardboard, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today. We offer contracts tailored to specific cardboard outputs and take care of the entire process, from collection through to recycling transfer.

Talk to us about your cardboard recycling requirements >

See more: Zero Waste to Landfill – What Does it Mean?

See more: What is the Waste Sorting Process?