Recycle Old Boxes and Reduce Your Responsible Recycling Practice
Is recycling paper good for the environment? At first glance, paper seems like it is a great way to go, until you learn some of the other items that can be recycled along with it. Paper & Cardboard: what can (and cannot) be recycled Sometimes it is so hard to believe that a paper and cardboard product can be recycled; especially when it is filled with chemicals and toxins. Junk mail? Facile magazines?
Gifts: if you are giving something as a gift or as an individual donation, you should definitely recycle. It’s better for your bank account, and for the environment. You may have heard the phrase “one cup of coffee saves five.” This is absolutely true when it comes to paper & cardboard products, as you are helping to save the environment by reusing paper and cardboard and by saving trees!
Gift Baskets: paper is not the only material that can and should be recycled when making gift baskets. Nonpaper and plastic packaging materials also should be recyclable, as they carry just as many health threats and are just as bad for the planet. Just as food and water are the top two needs for human survival, notepaper and plastic packaging need to be at the top two items in your shopping list when purchasing gift bags.
Plastic: is it OK to recycle plastic? The short answer is no, you should not. The next question might be how much. The majority of paper products are produced from raw materials, such as cornstarch and cotton. If you purchase any processed product that has been created from or is made from processed wood pulp, then you should definitely not throw it away.
So, now that we have established that paper & cardboard aren’t the only materials that should be recycled, let’s look at the different types of notepaper and plastic that can actually be recycled and resold as well. Many paper and paperboard products can actually be reused, such as gift wrap paper. There are even a number of retail outlets that offer a product called Reusable Gift Wrap that has already been processed but has been covered with paper. You can find some of these outlet stores online.
Cardboard packaging: can it be recycled? If it has already been packaged, then it can be recycled, but there are some special cases. For example, some snack and sandwich packaging and wrap paper have ink on the packaging that can in fact be recycled; however, there is no way to tell if the ink will run out before the snack or sandwich is eaten. Therefore, if you buy recycled paper-based packaging, it should be used until the paper is completely gone.
Food & beverage packaging: in the US, beverage can and most food containers (such as milk jugs and coffee cups) are recyclable, but there are some exceptions to this rule. The problem with this is contamination. If a person is drinking a soda that has been consumed and it has been opened in a recycling bin, then contamination can occur. If the same beverage is served in a used coffee cup, or a package of food (which has already been opened) then contamination can occur. In this case, it is best to reuse the packaging, so be sure to recycle paper as well.
Plastic: like paper bags, plastic can also be recycled, but not to the degree that paper bags and paper recycling process can. There are some major differences between the two. One of them is that plastic cannot be reprocessed (reused) for a product that it was manufactured for. Also, most plastic is not breakable, so once a plastic product is used, you have to dispose of it (or make more of it) rather than re-use it for your own use.