Solid Waste & Recycling Newsletter

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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Solid Waste & Recycling Newsletter

Special Delivery! Tips for How to Properly Recycle Cardboard Boxes

We all love getting a package in the mail - especially around the holidays - but are we recycling our cardboard boxes and inside packing materials correctly? Ninety-six percent of Americans have made an online purchase, and 80 percent of us shop online each month! Much of our online shopping packaging consists of corrugated cardboard shipping boxes. Recycling these boxes decreases solid waste disposal in landfills, provides new fiber to make new paper products, uses less raw material and energy, and creates jobs. Recycling is an important part of the circular economy, ensuring valuable materials are used again instead of ending up in the landfill where they have no value. In 2017, the paper recycling industry collected, sorted and processed $8.1 billion worth of recycled fiber, creating jobs and supporting the economy.

How to Properly Recycle a Cardboard Box

  • Remove all packing materials like packing peanuts, bubble wrap, and air pillows from the box. These packing materials cannot be recycled in your home recycling program, even if the recycling symbol is printed on the material. Bubble wrap and air pillows are recyclable, but require separate recycling programs. These materials are film plastics and can be recycled at separate drop off locations found at many retail stores that accept other film plastic like plastic bags. Learn more about film plastic recycling and drop off locations near you.
  • Keep it flat. Keep scissors handy to cut through tape and collapse boxes flat. Flat boxes make transportation and sorting more efficient for recycling. If there is any loose tape, peel it off and dispose of it in the trash.
  • Keep it clean & dry. All cardboard that goes in your household recycling bin should be clean and dry- free of food, liquid, and other residues.
  • Feel good. Recycling right feels good! Step back and admire your empty, flat boxes and leave your wish-cycling guilt behind.

Presents and wrapping and boxes a-plenty
Which bin to choose, it's the question of many
Boxes, more boxes oh what should you do?
Recycling right can help you get through

Cardboard Collapse

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