Please don’t throw your moving boxes away, recycle or reuse them!
- Recycling cardboard is effective. Turning old cardboard into new cardboard requires just 75% of the energy it takes to make new cardboard from raw materials.
- Recycling cardboard is good for the air. Turning old cardboard into new cardboard produces 50% less sulfur dioxide (a by-product of burning fossil fuels) than making new cardboard from raw materials.
- Recycling cardboard 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.
You can feel a lot better about it if you take the time to recycle it properly. Here’s how to do it.
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.
Note that 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.
Store your boxes somewhere dry until 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.
Check with your waste management company to ensure you put boxes out correctly
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. Alternately, 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.
Other ways to use cardboard boxes for a weed barrier in your garden or landscaping.
- Protect your floors when painting.
- Make drawer dividers.
- Use them for stylish storage.
- Use them for car or garage storage.
- Make a cat playhouse.
- Keep them for shipping.
- Let your kids use them to make forts and playhouses