Paper and cardboard come in all shapes and sizes, from utility bills to Amazon parcels. However, it’s easy for us to fall back on paper and cardboard recycling when there isn’t a designated bin around. But did you know that over a third of the household rubbish we throw away in the UK each year is cardboard and paper? When you take this into account, it suddenly becomes clear how important it is to recycle everything we can.
If we recycled every piece of cardboard we use in a year, the positive environmental impact would be massive. Every tonne of recycled cardboard saves seventeen trees, two cubic yards of landfill capacity and 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity. To put this into perspective, the UK has a population of over 64million and we annually use 140 corrugated cardboard boxes for each person. In addition, recycling paper instead of making it from new material generates 74% less air pollution and uses 50% less water.
How do I recycle paper and cardboard?
Most local authorities take paper and cardboard as part of their mixed recyclables collections. Meanwhile, many schools, businesses and other organisations have paper recycling bins, which can sometimes also take cardboard (check with the person in charge first).
Items usually accepted by kerbside collections:
-- All forms of paper, including newspapers, magazines, phone directories
-- Corrugated cardboard
-- Egg boxes
-- Shoe boxes
-- Packaging from home products (electrical items, toys, mobile phones etc.)
-- Frozen food packaging
-- Cereal boxes
-- Greetings cards and postcards
Items sometimes not accepted by kerbside collections:
-- Pizza boxes and other packaging soiled with food and/or grease
-- Items with plastic windows
-- Juice cartons
However, the best thing to do is to give your local council a call or check their website, as we’d hate for you to throw window envelopes in the general waste when they’re eligible for collection.
Where else can I recycle?
If your local authority doesn’t collect a certain type of material, such as cardboard boxes, there are usually other opportunities for recycling. Many small businesses, schools and students often require cardboard boxes, and supermarkets and post offices frequently take unwanted greetings cards.
Other ways to help
The age-old rule of “reduce, reuse and recycle” can make a huge difference. Often you can’t help acquiring cardboard and paper, but there are usually ways to reuse it, from creating scrap notepads to making cardboard castles for the kids.
Need a good bin?
To recycle efficiently, you need the right bin for the job. Check out our products specially designed for paper and cardboard, which will help to increase your recycling efforts in both the home and the workplace.
Image: Tim Malabuyo on Flickr