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How to recycle boxes in an environmentally friendly way

23 January 2024 by
Quickbox Manufacturing Ltd, Lorna Donnelly

We often get asked ‘ Is corrugated cardboard recyclable’?  Well, the answer to that is a resounding yes, it is. It can be fully recycled and used to make other cardboard boxes or products. This blog explains how to recycle your boxes.

In the United States more than 80 billion corrugated cardboard boxes are used per year!! Recycling just one tonne of cardboard can save more than 6.5 cubic metres of landfill space.

Whilst the UK’s overall recycling rate remains at around 45%, the packaging waste is more than 67%. This suggests that up to 1/3 of all paper and card is not fully recycled. In fact, around 7 million tonnes of cardboard still end up in landfill every year.

What are the benefits of cardboard recycling?

By recycling cardboard boxes, it reduces landfill. Landfill releases methane and CO2 into the atmosphere. Also traces of toxic substances such as arsenic and mercury can end up in soil and groundwater which contaminates the earth. Landfill takes thousands of years to break down and during this time it pollutes the air. Therefore, by recycling cardboard you are helping to reduce landfill and toxins.

Deforestation is having a very negative impact on global warming and our environment. By recycling cardboard, it can drastically reduce the number of trees that are cut down each year, helping to preserve our natural habitat.

Recycling cardboard boxes saves energy. Recycling one tonne of cardboard would not only save 17 trees, and it would also save on 1440 litres of oil, 4000 kilowatts of energy and 26,500 litres of water.

Finally, it can also create jobs. Once the cardboard has been put in the recycling bins it has to be collected, sorted, and processed. People are also needed to document the data.

How can we recycle cardboard and cardboard boxes in an environmentally friendly way?

The easiest way is to put it into your home recycling bin. These recycling collections are usually made on a two- or three-week rotation.  Below is a list of what can/cannot be recycled in a domestic recycling bin.


  • Cardboard boxes, e.g., cereal, dishwasher tablet and egg boxes.
  • Corrugated cardboard with tape, polystyrene and plastic inserts removed.
  • Greetings cards with any glitter sections or batteries removed.
  • Online delivery boxes and cardboard envelopes.
  • Toilet and kitchen roll tubes – these can also be home composted.


  • Cardboard that contains foodstuffs, dirt, or paint.
  • Glitter covered greetings cards.

Where can I recycle large cardboard boxes?

If a cardboard box is simply too big to fit in your recycling bin, there are plenty of other options for recycling a large cardboard box.  Firstly, most places have a waste recycling centre in close proximity. It is quite easy to take your large cardboard boxes to one of these sites and place them in the cardboard recycling skip. Some supermarket car parks also have cardboard recycling skips in them, again giving an easy option for dropping off large cardboard boxes for recycling.

If you have ordered large items for example furniture, or moved house, it may be an option for the delivery company or removal company to unpack your goods and take the large cardboard boxes back with them for recycling.

You may be able to donate your cardboard boxes to family and friends, or even someone online.  Alternatively, think about other possible uses for them around your house. Large cardboard boxes make great toy boxes, you could even decorate them to add a bit of fun. They also are good for storage boxes and can easily be marked up with the contents. Children and pets love playing with cardboard boxes, so get creative.

How to prepare cardboard boxes for recycling.

It is so easy to recycle cardboard boxes.

  1. Empty your box and remove any non-recyclable packaging such as bubble wrap, polystyrene or plastic corner protectors.
  2. Flatten your box. This will give you more space and allow you to get more into your recycling bin.
  3. Put the flattened cardboard boxes into the bin.

A couple of recycling tips are as follows.

  1. Ripped and damaged cardboard can still be recycled.
  2. You don’t need to remove labels and tape. This will be done at the recycling plant.
  3. Where possible, keep your cardboard dry and clean. However, wet cardboard can be recycled once it has dried out.

In summary, recycling cardboard boxes is very simple, and a great way to help our planet.

Quickbox Manufacturing Ltd, Lorna Donnelly 23 January 2024

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