When cardboard cannot be recycled?

Cardboard can be recycled practically indefinitely. For the recycling process to work efficiently, just keep in mind a few simple rules: here’s which one

Recycling paper and cardboard is very important. Even though they are biodegradable materials, we must not forget that the production of recycled paper and cardboard reduces CO2 emissions, compared to the processing of virgin cellulose. Not to mention the use of natural resources (wood and water) and energy consumption. At the same time, for the recycling process to work correctly, and be of high quality, we need to learn to divide waste in the right way. There are in fact some cases (few) in which cardboard cannot be put in the separate collection of paper.
Let’s see which ones.

Containers and paper with pieces of food or soaked Packaging soaked in food or other organic residues creates problems during the recycling process. It is the classic case of the pizza box: devoid of pieces of food it is thrown together with the paper, like any packaging cardboard. If instead it is visibly soaked in oil, mozzarella or tomato, the operations to be done are three:

  1. the remains of food go in the wet collection;
  2. the part not contaminated by 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.

Containers and paper stained with paint or other substances The same speech made for food residues also applies to cardboard impregnated with toxic substances, such as paints and solvents: it must be disposed of in the undifferentiated.

Scotch tape and additional elements
This is a mistake that many of us make, because of the rush: throw cardboard packaging with adhesive tape, plastic stickers and metal points in the separate collection. In particular, when we receive products purchased online at home, it is easy for this to happen. It takes a few minutes to eliminate these additional materials.

The right way to recycle cardboard
In addition to paying attention to the “cleanliness” of the cardboard to be recycled, we remember three small but important warnings: throw the cardboard inside the appropriate bins, do not leave it next to it; flatten the boxes reducing their volume (so, moreover, it will not be a problem to make them enter the collector). Finally - and this also applies to glass and aluminum - do not throw the cardboard inside the plastic or bioplastic bag in which you have possibly collected it: the latter must be differentiated differently (naturally in plastic or in the organic if certified compostable).

What else does not go in the separate collection of paper and cardboard?
Now that we have seen when cardboard cannot be recycled, we dispel any doubt about other materials - similar to paper - on which some questions might arise. You cannot recycle:

  • baking paper;
  • paper tissues;
  • chemical paper.

These products must in fact be thrown in the undifferentiated. But be careful with paper for food uses such as oiled paper (used for cold cuts, cheeses, focaccias…): today we find many papers for food coupled with other separable materials between them oiled paper and when the cellulosic part can be manually separated (it is always indicated) it must be conferred with the paper.

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