One of the biggest benefits of cardboard moving boxes is that they’re easily recyclable, and cardboard itself is one of the simplest materials to properly dispose of. So, in addition to just doing your part to protect our planet, here are a few other great reasons to recycle your cardboard moving boxes instead of just tossing them:
Recycling Cardboard Is Effective
Turning old cardboard into new cardboard requires just 75 percent of the energy it takes to make new cardboard from raw materials.
It’s Great For The Air
Turning old cardboard into new cardboard produces 50 percent less sulfur dioxide (a by-product of burning fossil fuels) than making new cardboard from raw materials.
It Reduces The Impact Of High Cardboard Use
In the U.S., 100 billion corrugated cardboard boxes are used every year. Every ton of cardboard waste that makes it into recycling instead of into the landfill, relieves a huge burden on our environmental resources. So, while you may be feeling a bit guilty about that mountain of cardboard you’re left with after a move, you can feel a lot better about it if you take the time to recycle it properly.
How To Recycle Your Moving Boxes
Break All Of Your Boxes Down
It’s a lot easier for both you and your waste management supplier to recycle cardboard moving boxes when they’re broken down. To make sure they’re suitable for re-use, ensure each box is completely empty and break each box down so it’s completely flat. If any part of the box got damaged by a leaked substance (including water), cut that part of the cardboard away—saturated cardboard is extremely difficult for companies to recycle, even after it’s dry.
Side note: It’s not totally necessary to remove packing tape or sticky labels before collapsing boxes, as these can easily be removed at recycling facilities. But if you have the time, go ahead and do it anyway.
Keep Boxes Dry Prior To Recycling Day
Even after you’re done using your boxes for moving you still need to be careful about keeping them dry. So, while you might just be ready to have them out of sight, be sure that they’re kept somewhere they’ll stay safe and dry until recycling day comes around. There’s no recycling market for wet cardboard, and even small wet spots could prevent an entire box from being recyclable.
Again: If moisture does end up on a box, cut that piece off so the rest can be salvaged.
Contact Your Waste Management Company For Their Rules
Cardboard moving boxes take up a lot of room in recycling bins, even when they’re collapsed. But not all waste management companies will accept additional materials that are left outside of the bin. So, before you set out broken-down boxes next to your recycling bin, give your waste management company a quick call to see if they’ll still pick them up. If not, plan to just recycle your boxes in batches, putting out what can fit inside the bin and saving the rest for the next week. Alternatively, you may be able to find a drop-off location where you can bring all of your broken-down moving boxes to be recycled at once.
There are more ways to recycle cardboard moving boxes than just sending them out to the recycling plant. If you feel like getting creative, you can explore alternate uses for old cardboard boxes, for example, you can compost them, use them to protect your floors when painting, make drawer dividers, keep them for shipping items, and even use them again for future storage.
Don’t want to use cardboard at all for your move? Look into plastic moving boxes, which can be purchased or rented so you can skip the cardboard altogether.