The War On Cardboard
Updated: Mar 23
Here is an excellent article that helps put things into perspective:
Effects of Cardboard in the Landfills
Cardboard has many uses, the most prevalent of which is to package and ship items. People use cardboard to ship 90 percent of all products in the United States, according to Earth 911. Most cardboard ends up in landfills, where it can take a very long time to break down and decompose.
Annenberg Media reports that paper and cardboard account for 41 percent of all municipal waste in the United States. Only 25 percent of that cardboard and paper gets recycled. Compared to other countries such as Japan, which recycles 50 percent of its paper products, the United States is far behind. With only 25 percent of paper and cardboard recycled, the other 75 percent ends up in the landfill. Landfills are becoming increasingly full.
Landfill and Environmental Effects
Programs need to encourage recycling and increase the amount of cardboard and other paper products diverted from the landfill. Many argue that cardboard is made from a renewable resource, but when it decomposes, cardboard releases methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Cardboard is made from trees. These trees must first be cut down, destroying fragile ecosystems and their inhabitants. Processing the pulp and creating boxes also release emissions into the atmosphere and use energy.
Reuse and Recycle
Cardboard is made from paper and is easy to recycle. It is even better than recycling it to reuse it as many times as possible, as it is a fairly solid material. Not only does this keep it out of the landfill, but it also saves energy and emissions that are used to construct the boxes in the first place. When it is no longer viable to reuse the boxes, it is time to recycle them.
Most cardboard is recyclable, but there are a few exceptions. Greasy or otherwise soiled cardboard is not recyclable, so recycling pizza boxes is impossible. Wet boxes are also not recyclable. To recycle your boxes, make sure they are empty and flatten them out. Most municipalities also require the stacks of boxes to be tied up, but this varies, so check guidelines.
By Robina Sharma, eHow Contributor