Paper and cardboard recycling: all the mistakes not to make

Habits to observe for virtuous recycling

The separate collection of paper and cardboard is a fundamental process that requires the utmost attention: it allows us to recover precious raw material that can be reused to create new cellulose products. Yet, as much as this practice has become part of our daily lives for a long time now, it never fails to encounter doubts about the correct destination of some waste or errors that negatively affect the quality of recycling. What to do to avoid them? Correcting the course is possible and also very easy, small precautions are enough to make a difference. Let’s then see below the 8 most common mistakes that are made in recycling paper and cardboard and learn not to repeat them.

Separate collection of paper and cardboard, the 8 mistakes to avoid
To ensure that the paper and cardboard we throw away can be correctly recycled, it is enough to observe a few, simple habits, within everyone’s reach. Let’s find out which ones.

1. Cardboard outside the containers
It may seem superfluous to specify it, but the first rule to follow for a correct separate collection of paper and cardboard is to throw them in their appropriate container. Leaving the cardboard outside means risking that it gets wet due to atmospheric agents, and therefore that it degrades before it can be introduced into the recycling chain. Boxes and cartons must also be crushed to reduce their volume.

2. Used paper tissues
Used paper tissues do not go in the separate collection of paper but in the undifferentiated for hygienic-sanitary reasons.

3. Thermal paper
Thermal paper must not be thrown in the paper container because it reacts to heat and makes recycling problematic. It must instead be thrown in the undifferentiated. You recognize this type of paper because if you pass a nail, the dark line remains.

4. Oiled paper and baking paper
Oiled paper, like the one used to wrap cold cuts, cheeses, focaccias and that for stickers) is not recyclable. But be careful: today many papers for food can be “separated” and you can confer the cellulosic component in the paper. Otherwise, its correct location is in the undifferentiated bag. Even baking paper cannot be conferred in the paper collection: where explicitly signaled, it can be thrown in the wet (more and more companies are in fact opting for compostable solutions), alternatively it will go in the undifferentiated.

5. Packaging with food residues
Paper and cardboard packaging visibly soaked in organic residues (such as oil, mozzarella or tomato in the case of the pizza box), must be managed in this way:

  1. the remains of food go in the wet collection;
  2. the part not soaked in pieces of food goes in the paper container;
  3. the part of the container smeared with food must be reduced in size and if certified compostable it can be conferred in the wet bin.

6. Paper and packaging dirty with chemical substances Like paper and cardboard dirty with food residues, even those dirty with chemical or poisonous substances (such as paints or solvents) must not be recycled in the paper container, but in that of the undifferentiated collection.

7. Adhesive tape and staples
All non-cellulosic base materials - such as adhesive tape, staples and/or other metal parts (like those present in the packaging of appliances) - must be separated from paper and cardboard before they are thrown.

8. Wrappers of plastic or bioplastic
If you use a plastic or bioplastic bag to carry the paper to the appropriate container, this must not be thrown together with its content: if you decide to dispose of it, it will go in the first case in the plastic container, in the second case if certified compostable in that of the organic.

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