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Is Cardboard Recyclable – Updated Guide

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you have cardboard that you’d like to recycle. That’s great! When people have cardboard on their hands, they don’t know what to do with it.

Cardboard is one of the most recycled materials and in fact, in some areas, it’s easier than recycling your normal household trash.

That said, cardboard recycling is still done differently, depending on where you live.

Types of cardboards

There are several types of cardboard, each with its recycling process. Some types of cardboard can be recycled more than once before being recycled into another product. Others should not be recycled at all.

Corrugated fiberboard

This type of cardboard is made by glueing together layers of corrugated fibres and flattened pieces of paper that have been tightly rolled around a cylinder.

It’s very strong and can cause many products, including boxes, crates and shipping containers.


Paperboard is made from paper pulp and glued together into sheets or rolls.

It’s often used in food packaging because it’s durable enough to protect items without being overly heavy, like plastic bags are.

Paperboard can be recycled multiple times before being recycled into another product like corrugated fiberboard or even new paper products like napkins or paper towels!

Mat Board

Mat board is made from 100 per cent recycled material, including old newspapers and magazines that have been ground down into pulp paper fibres.

These fibres are mixed with glue to create a strong backing for framing pictures or photos.

Mat boards come in different sizes depending on how large your image will be when framed.

Step-by-Step Process of Cardboard Recycling

Here are some things you need to know about the cardboard recycling process.

The Cardboard Is Sorted And Shredded

The first step in the cardboard recycling process is to sort and shred all of the cardboard collected from businesses and homes.

This ensures that all the pieces of paper are the same size so they can be processed efficiently.

The shredded pieces are then placed into large bins for transport to a processing facility.

It Is Mixed With Water And Pulped

Next, the shredded pieces are mixed with water at high temperatures and pressure until they form a thick slurry called pulp or paper soup.

The pulp is then filtered through screens to remove any small bits of metal or plastic that may have mixed into it during collection or transportation.

More water is added if needed, which causes more fibre separation (breaking down fibres into shorter lengths).

This allows more control over how much fibre is left in your end product (paper or cardboard).

The pulp is filtered.

Once it arrives at the facility, the pulp is filtered through screens to remove foreign objects like glass or metal.

This ensures that only clean pulp enters the next processing step: mixing with water.

More water is added

The filtrate from the first step is mixed with more water to create weak paper fibres that stick together without being pressed into sheets.

This allows them to be formed into sheets easily when they dry out later in the process.

The sheets are then rolled up so that no air can get inside them before they are dried out completely at high temperatures in a furnace chamber.

The mixture is rolled and dried.

The next step in the recycling process is to roll and dry the mixture until it reaches a consistency that can be easily pressed into sheets again.

This drying process allows for better control over what goes into each sheet of paper so that every sheet has exactly what it needs for maximum strength.

Sheets are converted to new cardboard.

After drying, sheets are converted back into corrugated cardboard so they can be used to create new products such as boxes, folding cartons, shelving boards and more!

Ways to Reuse bubble wrap

Here are a few ideas for ways to repurpose cardboard:

Cardboard iPhone Dock

If you’re tired of your phone falling off a table, this simple DIY project uses cardboard and tape to create an iPhone dock that will securely hold your device.

The design is adjustable so you can use it with any phone or tablet.

Cardboard Drawer Dividers

If you want to organise some drawers in your home or office, this DIY project uses leftover cardboard and one other material — Velcro! You can easily adjust these dividers as needed, meaning they’ll work in cupboards or drawers of any size.

Jewellery box

This jewellery box is made from a single sheet of cardboard and some glue — no sewing required! Just follow these step-by-step instructions for creating this simple storage unit for your accessories.

Shoe rack

If you have a lot of shoes but nowhere to put them all (or simply want some extra storage space), this shoe rack is super easy to make using nothing more than a few sheets.

Make a photo frame

Cardboard can be used as a frame for your photos.

Cut the cardboard into the size you need and place it in the picture frame.

If you want to add more colour, use paint or glue instead of buying new frames.

This is an easy way to reuse cardboard without throwing it away.

Make gift boxes

You can also make gift boxes from cardboard.

Cut the cardboard into square or rectangular shapes and decorate them with paint or glue if you want to add more colour to them.

You can even create different shapes like hearts, circles and other shapes that can be used as gift boxes for any occasion!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is glossy cardboard recyclable?

Ans: Yes, glossy cardboard is recyclable.

Cardboard is made from trees and plants, so it’s a renewable resource.

This means that when you recycle it, you’re helping preserve the environment by not using natural resources like trees.

Is corrugated cardboard recyclable?

Ans: Yes, corrugated cardboard is recyclable.

The paper in corrugated cardboard gets recycled into many different products, like toilet paper and paper towels.

One of the most common types of recycled paper is toilet tissue from companies like Charmin® and Cottonelle®.

Is wet cardboard recyclable?

Ans: Yes, wet cardboard is recyclable as long as it’s not soaked with food or liquids (like milk).

Wet cardboard can be recycled into new boxes or used to make insulation that keeps houses warm in winter and cool in summer.


Cardboard recycling is extremely popular, and for excellent reasons.

It is one of the most accessible types of recycling to do.

It is also a relatively inexpensive method, ideal for those looking to lower their environmental footprint and save some money on trash removal costs.


  • Jen Wheeler

    Jen Wheeler, co-founder of Recycling-Revolution.com, holds degrees from UC Berkeley, Yale, and Stanford. A renowned environmentalist, she's championed sustainable practices at global events and leads EcoBright Solutions, focusing on recycling education and eco-friendly products.

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