As more consumers opt to shop from home, businesses are being forced to invest more in boxes for packaging. Thankfully, most packaging used for shipping is affordable, and even where it is not, businesses can add this cost to their pricing to make up the difference and still make a profit. However, with just about every online delivery meaning shoppers are receiving new packaging, the concern then becomes how to safely dispose of them without harming the environment or contravening local laws. Many people lack the space or desire to want to save even a box that is in good condition. Here’s how to dispose of this waste responsibly.
Recycle Boxes for Packaging
Most cardboard products are recyclable. More so if they have not been damaged by liquids or oil, as happens with food containers. Your packing materials may also not be recyclable if it has been contaminated by chemicals. If you have a recycling center near where you live, this would be the best place to dispose of old boxes for packaging.
Most towns and cities have such facilities so look up the closest one online and any instructions they give on how to use their services. You will likely be instructed on how to break down the box to remove plastics like packing tape and sections damaged by chemicals, liquids, and oil. You may also need to flatten and fold the box so it can fit into the recycling bin when delivering.
Cardboard makes for a good addition to compost. If you have your own garden, you can cut up the cardboard into small pieces and soak it in water before adding it to your compost mix. Cardboard is a good source of carbon that will feed the microorganisms in your compost, providing them a source of energy for them to do their work. If you do not have a garden, check with local nurseries or farms that may appreciate this contribution.
Give for Reuse
Another option would be to give out the boxes for reuse by someone else. You can check with local community centers to see if they need them. Those that offer arts and crafts courses can often make use of them for projects. Check with local builders and painters. They often have a need for cardboard when doing renovation work as it can help keep the work area clean. Local retail stores can also likely inform you of people who normally check with them for boxes.
Don’t just throw away your shipping boxes after you have received your purchase. Choose the responsible way by recycling along with these two other methods too.
One of the key reasons the cardboard box has been so popular for packaging is its ability to be recycled. Many businesses and consumers are concerned about how their actions can impact the environment. They, therefore, seek to invest in products that will not prove harmful.
Cardboard is an excellent material that is touted for being lightweight, strong, easily customizable, and recyclable. Most people that do shopping in stores and online will end up with a stash of used cardboard boxes they may not be sure of how to properly dispose of. The boxes can range from cereal boxes to the packaging used to deliver your home electronics. While cardboard is highly recyclable, certain conditions may make it ineligible for this process. Here are the basics of what you need to do when looking to dispose of your boxes responsibly.
Check for damage
It is especially important to check for liquid spills or other staining contaminants. When saturated by oils and chemicals, cardboard boxes are generally no longer recyclable. The contamination can interfere with the recycling process. This is why pizza boxes rarely make the cut. Also, be concerned about boxes that held chemicals like bleach and other liquid cleaning products. If most of the box is clean, you can opt to cut away the damaged part and recycle the rest.
Ensure the cardboard box is fully dry before sending it to a recycling center. Water damage is not a problem but should be allowed to fully dry out before recycling. Dent and tears on otherwise clean boxes are not a problem either.
The next step is to empty your box of all contents. Not just the item you bought, but also any filler or inserts used to support it within. Some of these will not be recyclable but may be reusable. If in good condition, you can store them somewhere clean and dry and use them when shipping an item. You do not need to remove the tape or labels on a cardboard carton as the recycling centers will do this during processing.
Once you are ready to send it in, be sure to collapse and flatten the cardboard carton. This will help save on limited space, more so if you stuffing the box into a recycling bin. If you have a large number of cardboard boxes or there is no recycling bin nearby, you can talk to your local recycling center to set up delivery. You can also enquire with your waste collection service provider if they can arrange for pick up. Depending on your locality you will want to look up recycling guidelines in case of additional requirements.