Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle Cardboard Boxes

January 6, 2009 at 3:01 pm 14 comments

What about this reuse idea from craftzine?

What about this reuse idea from craftzine?

As smart2begreen points out, there are a lot of extra cardboard boxes floating around after the holidays.

According to the 5 R’s, the best thing is to try to reduce the number you purchased.  I am assuming it is a little late for that idea this go around.  However, in the future consider:

  1. Reusable boxes instead of ‘one-time-use’ gift boxes
  2. If moving is in your future, check out companies that supply reusable moving boxes like or a similar service.
  3. Try to purchase things with less packaging.

 However, since you already have boxes, reusing  is the next best thing.  For those who are  extreemly talented (i.e. not me) you can make  some really cool lamps or furniture from  foldschool.  If you can’t reuse your boxes, consider giving or selling them to someone who could.  Put them up for reuse on-line at sites like craigslist or freecycle.  Do you want someone to do the work for you?  Check out U-Hauls free box trading message boards or see if your local U-Haul store collects them for reuse.  U-Hauls and UPS usually will take packing peanuts as well.

Recycled Cardboard in bales

Recycled Cardboard in bales

If your boxes are too damaged for reuse, recycle them.  For each bale recycled: 

-17 trees will not be cut down

-7,000 gallons of water will not be used

-380 gallons of oil will not be used

-the energy saved is enough to heat your home for 6 months! 

But what if your cardboard can not be recycled because it has been contaminated with grease?  Procede to the 4th R – Rot.  For composting information, visit our website.

And as always, if you must buy new – complete the recycle cycle and buy products made from recycled content (preferably post-consumer).  Do you have any creative ways to reduce or reuse cardboard boxes?  Do share!

Recycle More,

recycle raccoon


Entry filed under: Compost, Deforestation, Facts & Figures, Natural Resources, Packaging, Recycling, Reduce & Reuse, Water. Tags: , , .

40 Tons Isn’t THAT Much Trash for 1 Night… Environmental Films

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bob  |  January 6, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Those are some excellent points on how to be more earth friendly with your boxes. Did you know there are still more ways to be environmentally friendly when it comes to boxes? is a site where you can also get or give boxes completely free. It’s from the same people who brought you as a way of letting people help each other and keep boxes off the streets. It’s people helping people, and helping the environment at the same time.

  • 2. Recycle Raccoon  |  January 7, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Another great resource, thanks Bob!

  • 3. leahingram  |  January 7, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    I like the cardboard box as lamp but I don’t think I’m crafty enough to pull that off. Here are some of my thoughts on post-holiday cardboard box excess:



  • 4. Shawna Coronado  |  January 14, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Love your blog – keep up the awesome work!


    Shawna Coronado

  • […] cardboard can be recycled (and also reduced or reused!) […]

  • […] 12, 2009 by Recycle Raccoon Recently I talked about the most popular type of paper discarded, corrugated boxes.  Over 30 million tons of corrugated boxes are disposed of each year.  After talking to some […]

  • 7. Redesign Diva  |  April 9, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    There are tons of things cardboard come in handy for. I have made laptop bags, postcards from cereal, cake mix, and bisquick boxes. I also reupholstered a love seat using cardboard. I am working on more upcycled projects too! Love this site!

  • 8. angel  |  April 22, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    i think recycleing is good for planet. we need to cause if we dont then are world be paluted even more then people wonder why we do it

  • 9. packing supplies  |  October 14, 2009 at 6:56 am

    I think that it is a good process of recycling corrugated card boxes because these boxes do consume very easily and then they become a part of idle trash and it is not a good practice. we should do green packaging and recycle these stuffs because every body should live in a clean and hygiene environment…

    Good Thought……

  • 10. Jerry McConway  |  January 23, 2010 at 2:08 am

    great page, wanted to know if you would be interested in doing a a link trade with my site

  • 11. Susie  |  February 18, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Reusing should be the focus when talking about cardboard boxes. The failure to use a cardboard box through its entire lifecycle wastes the cardboard that has already been produced. By prematurely recycling, we are wasting the resources it requires to break down the old cardboard boxes and the resources required to create something new from the old cardboard boxes. I started by business at for this reason. Reusing boxes needs to become the focus rather than recycling.

  • 12. Kierra Humphrey  |  May 22, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Thank You I hoped to get more info but this was just enough to get me an 100/A+ on my recycling project thanks. Also, Im only eleven in all accelerated classes. I hope to visit this site more often. Again, Thank you it was a pleasure.

  • 13. cardboard  |  June 10, 2010 at 6:42 am

    Hi, Thanks’s for your great article. I really enjoy to read untill end. So informative and useful. Today I want to share my knowledge about cardboard. Do you know that there are some advantages of corrugated cardboard boxes? They come with a long lasting guarantee and can be used for a long time. The second is they are made of recycle paper. So i really love corrugated because they are environment friendly.

  • 14. Recycle Raccoon  |  June 29, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    @ Susie – I couldn’t agree more! I am a fan of the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle — it’s not a catchy phrase but a prioritized list!” Reusing is always preferable to recycling.

    @ cardboard – you make a good point — people should make sure that if they do get cardboard boxes that they are made of recycled content.

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