McLean, Va. – With the shopping season upon us early this year and sturdy brown boxes helping ensure on-time delivery for both gifts and everyday goods, research from the Paper and Packaging Board’s latest consumer survey shows that people prefer these paper-based packaging and shipping materials 2:1 over plastic. And, if given a choice, 3 out of 4 people would prefer a paper-based shipping container, like a corrugated box, when receiving their online purchases. Ready access to recycling programs makes it easy to recycle paper-based packaging and boxes, with 96% of Americans having access to community curbside or drop-off (2014). In fact, in 2018, 96% of all corrugated was successfully recovered for recycling in the U.S., and the average corrugated box was made with 50% recycled content. According to a 2018 EPA analysis, paper, paperboard (like wrapping paper tubes and cereal or pasta boxes), and corrugated cardboard (the fluted, brown boxes keeping your shipped items safe) was the most recycled material in the United States.
The Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds® campaign joins in celebrating #AmericaRecyclesWeek with helpful hints to help make recycling easier than ever. Check out our list of what paper products can and can’t generally go in the blue bin. Things to remember about recycling:
Recycle Shipping Boxes. In general, cardboard boxes need to be dry and flattened (find out the easiest way to flatten boxes here).
Recycle Food Packaging. Paper-based food packaging like paperboard takeout boxes and paper bags are a sustainable option in part because they’re made with a renewable resource. And much of the time they can be recycled. Ordering pizza? New research shows you don’t have to stress over the grease stains or cheese.
Think Beyond Boxes. Yes, recycle your cardboard boxes, but don’t forget about other forms of recyclable packaging that pop up this time of year, like the tube of that roll of wrapping paper or molded pulp packaging (the egg carton-type packaging that often secures goods in place within their box). Most recycling facilities accept these along with cardboard.
Know the Rules. A common mistake is including non-recyclable packaging material in the recycling bin. Most municipal recycling facilities do not accept plastic foam, inflated packaging, plastic air pockets and other “soft” plastics (i.e., the kind that keeps its shape if you scrunch it). Those should go to a dedicated drop-off spot. If your community offers one, BeRecycled.org can lead you there.
Know Your Community. If you’re unsure of your community’s guidelines, BeRecycled.org offers a nationwide look up system where you can find your town’s recycling rules and education on what can be recycled.
The power to reuse and recycle our planet’s resources rests in each of our hands, and in most cases, the blue bin is just steps away.
More than 40 U.S. manufacturers and importers collectively fund the national marketing campaign, Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds®. www.howlifeunfolds.com.