Cardboard is one of the most recycled materials not only in Australia but in the world. Also referred to as corrugated cardboard or paperboard, it estimated that more than 90 percent of this material is recycled. Cardboard recycling provides numerous benefits to both the businesses and the environment. That’s why it has grown popular over the years.
But how is cardboard recycling done, and why should we promote it? Well, in this handy guide, we have got everything you need to know about cardboard recycling. We put together the main steps for proper recycling and the benefits. Here is everything you need to know about the recycling of cardboards.
What are the main types of cardboard?
There are two main types of cardboards used in the entire supply chain. One of them is the corrugated cardboard. These are higher quality cardboards that are made from multiples corrugated and flat layers of cardboard. They are thick, durable and robust, which makes them perfect for parking packing goods for transport.
The second type of cardboard is paperboards or fibreboards. They are thick than the standard paper but foldable. These cardboards used for things such as shoe boxes, cereal box shoes, and electronics, amongst others. Most of them also mostly refer to them as cartons. They are the most common in the market due to their versatile application
What Cardboard Can Be Recycled
Although all cardboards can be recycled, various factors are taken into consideration to ensure quality. Therefore, some types of cardboards do not qualify for recycling. For example, if there is contamination of oil or grease, then it can’t be recycled because it will lower the cost of the final product. So, used pizza boxes may not qualify for recycling.
Steps To Follow When Recycling Cardboard
For proper cardboard recycling, there are several steps that you need to observe. These are steps that have been tested and found to produce quality recycled cardboard. They include the collection of the cardboard that has served the purposed. Here are the main steps for recycling cardboards:
The first stage of the recycling process is collecting used cardboards. Cardboards comes from many sources. In Australia, there are designated collection points where recyclers and business collects used cardboards. In most cases, trash bins, commercial outlets and scrap yards the main collection points. These are places where you can get volumes of cardboard.
After the collection of cardboard is complete, then you need to start sorting them out. This stage ensures that the quality of the cardboard is maintained. So, you need to separate cardboards based on the materials used. Separate corrugated cardboard from paperboards or boxboards. In addition to that, remove oily cardboards since they can lower the quality of the final product. Note that wet cardboard can clog the sorting and shredding machine; hence, remove them.
3. Shredding and Pulping
After sorting, the waste cardboard is cut into small pieces using the shredding machines. The small pieces are then mixed with water to break down the paper to even smaller particles. The process is called pulping. To improve the quality of cardboard, add fresh pulp from chips to the blended pulp to make it firmer.
4. Filtering and decontamination
Once the pulp is made, the next step is filtering and removing contamination or removing foreign particles in the pulp. This includes glue, strings, tapes and other particles that are commonly used together with cardboards. Other contaminants that to target in this stage are plastics and metal staples. This ensures that only cardboard pulp remains. The last step in this process is de-inking the pulp. The process helps to remove dyes from the cardboard pulp so that you can have grey pulp.
5. Cardboard Making Machine
The last step of recycling should start with mixing clean the pulp and pressed to form a ‘noodle’ shape. The process removes excess water in the solution to form a hardened paste. The paper paste is then fed into the cardboard making machine, which removes the water from all the water and then dried. It creates long paper sheets which are rolled in large spools. From these spools, you can use the cardboard for a range of things.
Benefits of Cardboard Recycling
The reason why cardboard recycling is recommended is because of its numerous benefits. Apart from businesses saving money on waste disposal, there are many other environmental benefits. Here are 3 main advantages of cardboard practising:
1. Reducing Pollution
Recycling cardboard helps to reduce both soil and air pollution. If the cardboard is thrown away after serving the purpose, it means cutting that more trees to satisfy the high demand for cardboards. It also means a release of more greenhouse gases from cutting, transporting and processing the tree to make pulp. All this air pollution is reduced by recycling. Reducing the number of trees cut also helps to reduce soil pollution.
2. Conserve Energy
The process of manufacturing virgin cardboard from trees requires a lot of energy. From the point of cutting the tree, transporting and processing it, you need a lot of energy. But with recycling cardboard, you will be eliminating all these stages up to that making pulp. So, by recycling used cardboard saves more than 24 percent of the total energy needed for virgin cardboard.
3. Averts deforestation
The planet is facing global warming, which is a serious problem that is caused by the diminishing of vegetation cover. Deforestation is one of the ways that vegetation is diminished. But with cardboard recycling, we can help avert deforestation and make the planet a better place. Recycling helps to reduce the number of trees cut to manufacture cardboards.
Cardboard remains one of the most recycled materials across the world. The practice offers numerous benefits, and that’s what makes it popular. While small and large businesses save money on waste disposal, it also makes the planet a better place. Therefore, it essential that we all support the recycling of cardboard. Rather than throwing cardboard in the bin, we can sell them to recyclers or take them to the recycling bins. With that, we will be contributing to making the planet better.