There are two types of materials that the general public terms “cardboard.” The first is corrugated cardboard. Corrugated cardboard is a strong, versatile packaging material that is made from two strips of flat cardboard on the top and bottom, and a wavy “corrugated,” or fluted, strip running through the center. It is most commonly found in boxes used for packaging and shipping items and is universally accepted for recovery and recycling.
The second type of material that is dubbed “cardboard” by the general public is actually paperboard — a flat, pressed, stiff paper. It is commonly used for lighter packaging, such as cereal and snack food boxes. Here at the Nobleboro-Jefferson Transfer Station we recycle both, however, it is important to note that the non-corrugated cardboard gets recycled in the mixed-paper container and corrugated cardboard has a container all its own.
Cardboard, like newspaper, is a recycling success story. Today, over 90% of all products in the U.S. are shipped in corrugated cardboard boxes. Encouragingly, 70% of all corrugated cardboard is recovered for recycling — making it the largest source of waste paper collected for recycling. This is due in part to the fact that many businesses, as well as homes, recycle cardboard.
Cardboard recycling facts:
Corrugated cardboard is often made of recycled content and almost always made of post-consumer material.
Corrugated cardboard is more environmentally friendly than ever before. It can accept nontoxic water-based inks and be processed without bleaching.
Even raw materials used to make corrugated cardboard — including lumber industry byproducts such as sawdust and wood chips — are renewable resources.
Corrugated cardboard manufactured from recycled pulp uses about 75% of the energy used in the manufacture of corrugated cardboard made from virgin pulp.
Corrugated packaging is a $17 billion-per-year industry — the largest segment of the entire packaging industry.
So to all you recyclers who faithfully bring in your cardboard, give yourself a pat on the back. You are helping to make this a greener, healthier planet. Small steps, when multiplied by large numbers, make a huge difference. We can always do better, but sometimes it’s good to recognize one’s successes and build off of them. Congratulations on a job well done. Keep up the good work!