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Cardboard is a popular material for packaging gadgets and food. As a result, it is one of the products recycled, along with worn clothing, electronics, and plastic. But how does cardboard affect the environment?
Recycling helps to minimize the impact of cardboard on the environment, and the strain on our environmental assets. Also, the quantity of rubbish that goes to the landfills contributes to cleaner air. On the other side, failing to recycle cardboard has negative consequences.
Quick facts about cardboards:
- Cardboard boxes are used to convey more than 90% of all items in the United States.
- It is the main contributor of paper waste collected for recycling, accounting for 70% of all recovered corrugated.
- Corrugated boxes are often constructed from recycled materials and nearly usually from post-consumer waste.
- A grooved box eliminates the requirement for overwraps and supplementary packaging, allowing for considerable source reduction. It may also be developed for improved strength while utilizing less raw ingredients, a technique known as “lightweighting.”
- Corrugated is more ecologically friendly than ever before, with the ability to absorb non-toxic inks that are water-based and to be treated without bleaching.
- Paper (including Old Corrugated Containers or known as OCC) is recycled and used to manufacture fibreboard, paper products such as paper towels, cereal boxes, tissues, as well as writing and printing paper.
- Even the raw materials required to create OCC, like shavings and wood chips, are renewable resources.
- Sulfur dioxide pollution is produced when tree pulp is processed for use in cardboard boxes.
- Cardboard created from recycled pulp consumes around 75% of the energy utilized in the production of cardboard boxes made using virgin pulp.
- Its manufacturing is a $17 billion-per-year sector, accounting for the lion’s share of the whole packaging industry.
The following are four reasons why recycling cardboard is not so bad:
Photo by Racool_studio on Freepik
1. It is disposed of in a landfill.
Despite the fact that the cardboard is composed of paper, it is heavy and occupies a lot of room. And, since it is widely used for packaging, it may be found everywhere and contribute significantly to household garbage. In fact, cardboard and paper may account for a quarter to half of all home garbage created each year. Consider how much landfills capacity this would handle if it was not recycled.
A dumpster is not a nice place to visit. It emits a foul stench, causes pollution, and contaminates streams and neighboring land, providing a health danger. If the cardboard is not recycled, it will be impossible to achieve a zero-landfill waste stream.
2. It has a negative impact on wildlife
Cardboard is created from wood fibers and pulps, which implies that fresh trees must be chopped down in order to produce new cardboard. The volume of paper manufacture is mind-boggling. According to Greenpeace, 4 billion trees are chopped down each year throughout the world to create paper — equal to 1% of the Amazon Jungle.
Logging and commercial tree plantations are destroying natural forests, causing ecological damage and CO2 emissions.
Many firms are depending on FSC certified paper as a solution. But Greenpeace also points out that the reserves of FSC certified fiber are restricted. Meaning, that in certain places it does not ensure the protection of natural forests.
And, although utilizing recycled paper decreases dependency on industrial plantations significantly, it does not remove it entirely.
Because of its natural fiber lengths, recycled paper, like cotton, is reliant on the addition of virgin fiber to assure strength and quality. According to DEFRA statistics, roughly 75 percent recovered fiber and 25 percent virgin fiber are used.
3. It raises the level of methane gas.
Because carton is biodegradable, it emits Methane (a greenhouse gas) because it degrades. If the cardboard is not recycled, it will wind up in a landfill, increasing the quantity of Methane emitted into the atmosphere. As a consequence, it will occupy need less space while also contributing to global warming. The existence of Methane within our atmosphere is hazardous, and carton recycling is among the most effective strategies to lower its concentration.
4. It increases the use of natural resources.
It is common knowledge that recycling and repurposing items and resources save us from having to generate fresh resources to transform them into usable materials and products. Reprocessing, as opposed to manufacturing one ton of the materials from scratch, saves up to 390 kWh of energy, uses only 75% of the total energy required to generate from start to end, and avoids up to 1.1 barrels (46 gallons) of oil.
When a carton is not recycled, it imposes a strain on the natural assets used in its manufacture, increasing the natural consumption of resources in all the other areas such as oil and energy, and produces more sulfur emissions than when the material is made from recycled materials.
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