The Hows and Whys of Cardboard Recycling
Recycling is one of those things that always more pros on its side. You can recycle a number of things like paper, plastic, scrap metal, steel cans, etc., with cardboard being one of the most popular materials to recycle. Let us see how it’s done and the way it benefits the environment.
6 Steps of Cardboard Recycling
Cardboard recycling includes reprocessing and reusing of thick sheets of multilayered papers which are usually used or are regarded as waste. The following 6 steps are carried out in every recycle center:
- Sorting – The paper products are sorted according to the composition and the rate of their deterioration. Remember that you cannot mix some types of paper together.
- Baling – Large amounts of recycled paper are compressed and packed into blocks which can be moved and transported with ease.
- Shredding – This process involves shredding anything that is made of fiber using an industrial shredder. The shredded material is then mixed with water in order to create pulp. You can even use shredded paper as packing material and fill up the plastic bags.
- Washing & Bleaching – The pulp created in the shredding process is then washed and bleached to whiten the paper.
- Pressing – The paper sheet made of refined fibers, also known as web, is pressed between rollers. This extracts and squeezes out as much water as possible, after which the wet paper is run through heated dryer rollers to remove the remaining moisture.
- Rolling – The finished recycled paper is made into large rolls, which are then made into new consumer products.
6 Ways Cardboard Recycling Helps the Environment
Reduces Global Warming
When cardboard breaks down, it releases methane which effects global warming 21 times more than carbon dioxide. Recycling cardboard in order to make new paper reduces the number of greenhouse gases that are released into the environment and it will have a tremendous impact on reducing global warming.
- Saves Energy – Since cardboard is made of processed fibers from wood products, the recycled cardboard would require less processing than creating new products. When there is less processing, less energy would be used and reliance on natural sources of energy would go down.
- Conserves Water – If you want to make paper products from scratch, it would use vast amounts of water for processing wood products, however, recycled cardboard is already processed, so it would take much less water to make new products. To put things in perspective, you could save approximately 7,000 gallons of water per ton of cardboard by processing recycled cardboard.
- Easily Recyclable and Reusable – Corrugated cardboard boxes are reusable and recyclable. Since they can be recycled, the materials and energy used to make the recycled boxes are eventually reduced. Corrugated cardboard recycling can be done without using any chemicals such as dyes and bleaches, thus increasing the recyclability of the boxes. Since corrugated boxes are made of biodegradable materials, you can easily dispose of them without affecting the environment. Apart from recycling, you can also reuse them as storage boxes. This is why they are one of the greenest available packaging materials. Reusing helps in reducing waste and waste disposal cost.
- Curbs Deforestation – It is estimated that about 12 to 17 trees can be saved by recycling 1 ton of cardboard, based on numerous variables such as pulpwood process used and amount of post-consumer product used to make the recycled product. Since recycling reduces the need to cut tress, you can help in preventing deforestation.
- Saves Landfill Space – For every ton of cardboard that is recycled, you can save about 9 cubic yards of landfill space. Cardboard recycling helps in making room in the landfill for other materials that actually belong there.
The waste management and recycling facilities can contribute to the environment by encouraging recycling in their community.
Erich Lawson is very passionate about the environment and is an advocate of effective recycling. He writes on a wide array of topics to inform readers on how modern recycling equipment can be used by industries to reduce monthly wastage bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about environment saving techniques by visiting his blog Northern California Compactors, Inc blog.
For more information on what items can be recycled you can visit our Recycling Made Easy page.