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Cardboard Recycling Ideas for Households and Businesses

Cardboard Recycling Ideas for Households and Businesses

Cardboard is a ubiquitous product found in households and businesses alike. It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and fulfils a great deal of uses.

But with great use comes great disposal. Australia produces 5.8 mega tonnes of paper and cardboard annually. You can reduce, reuse and recycle much of this.

Luckily, there are many different cardboard recycling methods. Both households and businesses can get in on the fun. 

The sturdiness and ubiquity of cardboard means a wide variety of reuse options exist. All it takes is a little bit of ingenuity and creativity.

You might have run out of ideas and still have boxes of cardboard lying around. So we’ve put together some cardboard recycling ideas for households and businesses. Many ideas are unique to each. 

What is Cardboard?

We’ve all encountered cardboard used in cereal and shoe boxes, but have you ever considered what cardboard is?

They make cardboard using the Kraft process. This is where wood is converted into a wood pulp. This pulp is then treated with chemicals like sodium hydroxide and sodium sulphide, which breaks it down further. 

They use a similar process for other wood pulp-based products like paper. The difference with cardboard is that it is thickened and shaped to various sizes.

The various types of cardboard available make it a handy product. Thicker models are commonly used for packages and parcels. Thinner versions are standard in products like cereal boxes.

The diversity of products makes it great for recycling as it is moulded to suit whatever you need.

Additionally, the Kraft process shows that cardboard is primarily formed from natural materials. This makes it biodegradable, albeit to a certain extent. Chemical dyes, like bleach, are commonly used. 

It is essential to assess the level of dye and its possible effects on human health and well-being before recycling cardboard.

Why Recycle Cardboard?

Cardboard recycling has several benefits. Many of them have to do with cardboard’s unique ability to suit a variety of needs.

Most major recycling services would happily assist businesses and households during their recycling adventure.

Here are 7 benefits for cardboard recycling.

1. It Reduces Paper and Cardboard Waste in Landfill Sites.

Paper and cardboard waste account for 5.8 mega tonnes of waste. This is significantly high, especially if the world is becoming digital and paperless.

The reason for this is relatively simple. Paper and cardboard still have a place in the modern home and workplace. This is likely to stay the same shortly.

Decreasing the total amount of paper and cardboard waste will not come from reducing its utility. Instead, it can come from repurposing office paper and old cardboard boxes through recycling. Instead of throwing these products away, rather find new solutions.

What recycling does is it reduces the total amounts of waste that end up in a landfill. This lessens the effect of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling can also significantly reduce the need for additional paper and cardboard.

2. It Lessens Deforestation

Traditionally, they use wood pulp to create cardboard and paper. This wood needed to come from somewhere, and the Earth’s natural forests took a beating.

Paper and cardboard recycling reduces this in two distinct ways:

It lessens the demand for new products.

By reusing old cardboard boxes, fewer new products are in demand. This slows the manufacturing sector and incentivises them to cut down fewer trees.

It utilises recycled paper and cardboard to make new products.

Old paper and cardboard waste can easily be used to construct new paper and cardboard products. This side-steps the need to chop down new trees.

3. It Preserves Energy Stores

Recycling reduces the need to cut down more trees. It also reduces the energy required to construct new cardboard and paper products.

This is great for reducing humans’ environmental footprint as it lessens greenhouse gas emissions.

4. It leads to Higher Industry Investment

The paper and cardboard waste recycling industry is booming because of the high level of opportunities that investors are seeing. It is also a great example of businesses looking for greener and more eco-friendly opportunities.

Running a paper and cardboard waste management firm focusing on recycling for household and business use can cater to large and small-scale players. It can be as simple as supplying cardboard recycling bins and as complex as owning and running recycling plants.

5. New Forms of Jobs

Gone are the days when waste management jobs focused solely on waste disposal. A waste management plan must have a green element in the modern world.

Specialised recycling management has created new types of businesses. They provide bespoke recycling solutions to businesses and households alike. These recycling services create new jobs that seek to propel the world into an eco-friendly future.

6. Industrial Waste Reduction

Industrial waste management traditionally focuses on these companies’ more prominent forms of waste. When we think of industrial plants, we tend to forget that they need industrial paper and other cardboard products to function.

Businesses that recycle cardboard are part of a new revolution. Cardboard recycling plans ensure the management of every type of industrial waste. They do not just focus on the larger and more visible forms of garbage.

7. Builds a Better Tomorrow

Every human on this planet has a role in lessening the effects of climate change and the carbon dioxide destroying the ozone layer. Inspirational leaders help to create this environment.

By practising cardboard recycling, you can help to build a better tomorrow. By placing visible cardboard recycling bins around your business location and community, you allow others to join in this journey. Together, through cardboard recycling, the world can become cleaner.

How to Recycle Cardboard?

bundle, jute rope, newspaper

An essential factor to consider when recycling anything is how it pertains to current waste management systems. While promoting paper and cardboard recycling is excellent, it needs to be feasible and realistic.

A specific waste management plan is a good start. Planned professions help find viable solutions for all paper and cardboard recycling needs. They can provide cardboard recycling bins, manage recycling plants, and ensure that all recyclable materials end up where they are best utilised.

However, there are many realistic and easy options for paper and cardboard recycling. You can use these methods without the assistance of professionals. All it takes is a little ingenuity and creativity from people.

For one, recycled paper and cardboard waste is excellent for arts and crafts. Households and schools greatly benefit from this. But there’s something here for businesses, too. Scrap-printed office paper and cardboard boxes work great as planning materials.

We’ve compiled 26 Unique cardboard recycling ideas for both businesses and households.

13 Cardboard Recycling Ideas for Households

The 13 cardboard recycling ideas for households rely on using old cardboard boxes. They include egg cartons, pizza boxes, and other cardboard and paper products. The goal is to find fun, helpful, and effective ways to reduce waste through cardboard recycling.

Idea 1: Draw Dividers

Large draws in wardrobes are great for storing large items but can be ineffective for smaller items. 

Instead of replacing the wood or buying additional baskets, consider fashioning something out of old cardboard boxes. The sturdiness of the cardboard will ensure that whatever you make survives. Similarly, its flexibility allows you to construct the ideal divider. 

Idea 2: Build a Fort

Large cardboard boxes can provide a variety of fun and exciting activities for the entire family. Instead of throwing them away, why not build some new furniture? It’s an affordable way to engage the whole family.

The best part is that it requires little to no maintenance, cleanup, or repairs. Remove it once the fun is over, and consider a new way to recycle your cardboard. 

Idea 3: Shoe Racks

It seems that there is a shoe for every occasion. However, fewer options are available for adequate shoe storage. Luckily, innovative recycling can provide what’s needed precisely at a fraction of the price. 

Simply mould your cardboard to suit your shoe, creating a homemade shoe box. These are great for storing shores in an organised and effective manner. It also helps to keep them together.

Idea 4: Picture Frames

Pictures are great decorative items for any walls. The only problem is that wooden frames are expensive. With cardboard, you can find a fun and eco-friendly alternative.

The variety of boxes available provides numerous design options. Better yet, you can paint them over, personalised, and replace them without breaking the bank. 

Idea 5: Plant Guard

Many homeowners are turning their once pristine gardens into small-scale farms for fruits and vegetables. It’s a great hobby that ensures healthy and fresh produce for families. But instead of buying wood or metal fencing, consider turning to cardboard.

Cardboard plant guards are an eco-friendly alternative to older forms of farming. They protect plants, reduce waste, and are easy to maintain. Better yet, they are biodegradable. 

Idea 6: Garden Mulch

Mulch is a standard gardening product that helps your plants to grow and thrive. But they can be costly. 

Luckily, cardboard and paper waste are great alternatives. Their biodegradable nature gives flowers, fruits, and vegetables something to feed off as they grow. They’re easy to maintain and replenishable in a world filled with excess cardboard and paper waste. 

Idea 7: Bulletin Board

Clever management begins with a central planning place. Old bits of cardboard are an inexpensive way to create a planning bulletin board that keeps everyone informed and organised. 

You can decorate and personalise them without much fuss. They are also a physical reminder for recycling and a household’s place in building a greener tomorrow. 

Idea 8: Scratching Pad for your Cat

Cats and other household pets love to play. But as cute as they are, they’re also very destructive creatures that need constant attention and entertainment. Luckily, old cardboard boxes can be the solution.

Chances are, your cats already love playing with old boxes and pieces of paper. So before throwing cardboard boxes and paper in the bin, consider seeing if your pets would have another use.

Idea 9: Extra and Emergency Storage

Every real estate agent and homeowner knows that storage space is a significant selling point in the housing market. Some items just can’t be thrown away, but storing them in traditional ways seems impossible.

This is an excellent opportunity to use old boxes. They’re a free and effective way to treasure items that fit nowhere else. Additionally, anyone who has moved knows the struggles of finding new boxes. Consider keeping old cardboard boxes for just this reason.

Idea 10: Personalised Boxes

Some larger families have issues of space and separation. Personalised boxes are a great way to keep things separate, but these can cost a lot of money. 

Cardboard boxes are a great and affordable way to create personal boxes. They are also great for painting and decorating in unique ways without the risk of damage. It’s a great way to give everyone fair and equal storage without breaking the bank. 

Idea 11: Games and Surprises

The essence of effective recycling comes from creativity and imagination. People are surprised at the amount of things that can be done with something they once considered waste. 

Cardboard and paper waste and no different. You can turn them into games and other surprises for the entire family. Some might turn them into makeshift snow sledges. Others can envision costumes and board games. 

Idea 12: Egg cartons as Plant Pots

Old cardboard egg cartons are ideal plant holders for smaller plants and herbs. They are easy to move around, inexpensive to purchase, and made of biodegradable materials. They’re also super convenient. 

Plant owners would be happy to know that these little makeshift pots are excellent sources of nutrients for soil health. Consider taking all your egg cartons and using them as plant pots. It’s better than throwing them in the bin. 

Idea 13: Pizza Boxes for Art Canvas

Large and small pizza boxes offer artists a flat, rectangular, and white canvas. It might be unconventional to the more astute and classical painter. However, the younger and eco-conscious artist can see an opportunity.

They offer an artistic opportunity that very few artists have tried. It can create a picture distinct from the rest. And if your piece depicts an environmental theme, then what better way to show it?

13 Cardboard Recycling Ideas for Businesses

The 13 cardboard recycling ideas for businesses seek to utilise office supplies that are no longer needed. It also looks at building a sustainable recycling management plan that can vary depending on the industry. The goal is to find clever ways to recycle paper and cardboard waste.

Idea 1: Easy Extra Draws

Offer desk draws feel like a magnet for clutter. They can become disorganised after just one Zoom meeting, seemingly without notice. And while desk draws do exist, sometimes it feels like there just aren’t enough.

Cardboard boxes are a great alternative. It is easy to make them a bespoke and task-driven extra draw for a desk or office. They’re easy to clean, maintain, and replace. 

Idea 2: Desk Organiser

Here’s another excellent use for old cardboard boxes in the office. You can fashion pieces of cardboard into various custom-made organisers. They will easily suit the specific clutter found all over your desk.

Better yet, much of the lack of space on your desk comes from devices that were once stored and delivered in cardboard boxes. 

Idea 3: Extra Bins for Paper and Cardboard Waste

This one’s a no-brainer. Paper and cardboard waste bins litter the average modern office. They’re symbols of recycling and sustainability. But instead of buying fancy bins, why not use old cardboard boxes?

They serve the same purpose and help reduce paper and cardboard waste in a direct and easily visible way. The New South Wales government even found that people are more likely to recycle if the recycling bin was made from cardboard. 

Idea 4: Overflow Storage

The modern office has become a holding place for various items, some more essential than others. Old paper, in particular, takes up a great deal of space. While many companies turn to specialised boxes, why not consider cardboard?

They offer the same storage options at a fraction of the cost. They’re also environmentally friendly and help highlight a recycling culture within the business. Additionally, the different sizes ensure that many options are available. 

Idea 5: Local Cardboard Waste Deposit

garbage, garbage can, waste

Manu businesses and offices see themselves as stalwarts in their local communities. This is a great way to develop a greater local clientele but requires addressing local needs and wants. For communities looking to recycle, consider becoming the local cardboard and paper waste deposit site. 

Doing this will show the community that you both care and have their best interests in mind. Additionally, running a local waste recycling deposit site is a great way to earn secondary income. 

Idea 6: Extra Furniture 

Creativity and ingenuity are hallmarks of good recyclers. Some have gone to extreme lengths to find novel and innovative ideas. For example, those developing furniture from old and unwanted cardboard boxes.

This CNN article looks at their various creations and foregrounds their innovative work. Many businesses and office spaces can learn from them. They highlight forward-thinking and creative problem-solving. 

Idea 7: Art and Planning Supplies

Extra and unique office supplies are great, so long as they don’t take up too much space. Luckily for cardboard boxes, they can be both the art supplies and the tool that prevents items from getting in the way.

They are versatile with many use options. This makes them ideal for brainstorming activities and short-level planning. They’re handy for people who prefer physical objects over virtual ones. 

Idea 8: Document Filing

A pile-up of documents is both unsightly and suggests a degree of disorder. It is essential to have a dedicated and effective filing system in place. Luckily, cardboard recycling provides a pliable and realistic opportunity. 

The variety of box sizes allows offices to construct specific cabinets for specific purposes at a fraction of the cost. Offices using a blend of cardboard boxes in their file storing systems can already attest to the benefits.

Idea 9: Workshop Materials

Recycling cardboard boxes and other printed office paper takes forethought. A business owner or manager should think of their future potential value. One such value is that they’re excellent workshop materials.

The physical nature of these products makes them excellent tools for planning, thinking, and generally being creative without really using items of value. Instead of throwing them in the bin, consider saving them for future use. 

Idea 10: Gift items

People are often surprised at the level of creativity that smart and innovative recycling of cardboard can bring to an office environment. Turning them into gifts, for example, is something few people think about.

But they can make great gifts. At the end of the day, they can show appreciation for the workers and their hard work. 

Idea 11: Display Boards

Office display boards do not need fancy materials that cost a fortune. Old cardboard boxes and paper waste offer great alternatives to the expensive office supplies that many consider.

A major benefit is that they symbolise the company’s principles for a greener and better tomorrow. This incentivises workers to think more ethically about their paper and cardboard practices. 

Idea 12: Coffee cups competition

In Australia, 40% of coffee consumers use cardboard coffee cups. This is a great statistic to capitalise on and turn it into something fun and exciting for workers. 

Consider running a coffee cup competition in your office or workspace to see how many cups get used over some time. This helps build a culture of recycling by showing the sheer level of single-use items many people consume daily. Importantly, it’s a bit of fun. 

Idea 13: Audit Waste Usage

An end goal of recycling is to address the high levels of unnecessary consumption in our modern world. It is vital to address this before a cleaner and greener future is fully realised. 

Managers and business owners can run waste audits on their current cardboard and paper waste figures. This gives them a clearer picture of where their waste management stands and of improvements to implement in the future. 

Important Considerations

The various cardboard recycling ideas mentioned above are just a small example of innovative ways to tackle and promote recycling in households and businesses. 

A theme constantly discussed is that of creativity. To build an eco-friendly world, we require creative solutions. Cardboard recycling should be part of these efforts.