Cardboard Recycling: Dos and Don'ts

Thu, Sep 15, 2022 at 11:20AM

Cardboard Recycling: Dos and Don'ts

Cardboard is part of our daily lives, from food containers to shipping to storage. While cardboard may seem like a single-use item, it is actually highly recyclable. Cardboard is made of quality material and can usually be recycled several times. 

If you are participating in recycling in Gainesville and the greater Alachua County area, read these cardboard recycling dos and don’ts.

Cardboard Recycling Dos

Cardboard recycling in Gainesville, Florida, can make a big difference in the community’s carbon footprint. Do your part to recycle in the right way by following this list of cardboard recycling dos. 

Do Separate from Non-Cardboard

Lots of cardboard boxes often come with some kind of insert that’s often not made of cardboard. If your cardboard box also contains foam, plastic, or other material, make sure to separate it and recycle the cardboard alone.

Do Break It Down

Cardboard often needs to be flattened to process and transport. Breaking it down keeps the cardboard intact and makes it easier to get through the rest of the recycling boxes. 

Do Leave Labels and Tape Alone

Cardboard should be clean and separated from other products before you recycle, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. Your recycling center is trained on removing labels, staples, and other items from the cardboard and can often do it in a way that keeps the integrity of the original item.

Cardboard Recycling Don’ts

Recycling is always a good idea, but recycling the right way is equally as important. When cardboard is not recycled using best practices, it can undermine the entire recycling ecosystem, causing more harm than good.

Don’t Recycle Dirty Cardboard

Soiled cardboard can contaminate other pieces of cardboard it comes into contact with. Dirt and debris can also cause problems during the recycling process. If your cardboard is soiled with food, grime, or other debris, it’s best to toss it instead.

Don’t Recycle Wet Cardboard

If your cardboard has become wet during use, it’s best to throw it away rather than recycle it. Cardboard fibers become compromised when wet. Recycling wet cardboard will get other dry pieces wet as well.

Don’t Recycle Wax- or Plastic-Coated Cardboard

Wax-covered cardboard cannot be recycled and can contaminate other pieces of cardboard if put in the recycling bin. Similarly, cardboard with a plastic coating, such as refrigerator or freezer boxes, should not be recycled.

Do Recycling in Gainesville the Right Way

Whether you are new to recycling or have been doing it your whole life, it’s important to remind yourself of the right and wrong ways to recycle. Following this list of dos and don'ts is easy, helps you waste less, and can make a big difference in Alachua County.

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