Recycle! Recycle! Recycle! The April Push for Cardboard Recycling
Cardboard recycling – it’s the first of the “Big Four” materials that are being targeted in an intensive, region-wide push in April on recycling in Lincoln County and Mescalero. The four materials to be targeted during the month of April are corrugated cardboard; #1 and #2 plastic – “any plastic with a neck”; newspaper; and clean, empty aluminum cans. Recycling these items creates raw materials that are sold in southwestern industrial material markets. Recycling also creates new local jobs, and saves $500 per landfill trip – the cost of transporting and dumping these materials in the Otero-Lincoln Regional Landfill south of Alamogordo. Recycling and selling the ‘big four’ materials, creates downward pressure on solid waste costs, and, your solid waste bill.
Over 90% of all products that are sold in the United States (and in Lincoln County and Mescalero businesses) are packed in cardboard. Corrugated cardboard is very popular and used to make boxes for shipping. It is comprised of corrugated fiber paper, sandwiched by sturdy sheets of cardboard. Once this cardboard has been deposited into the trash or recycling bin, it is referred to in the industry as old corrugated cardboard, or OCC. The recovery rate of OCC was 78.3 percent in 2007. Recycling 1 ton of cardboard saves 9 cubic yards of landfill space and 46 gallons of oil. Cardboard is the single largest component of municipal solid waste around the world.
There are two different types of cardboard that are considered recyclable; the first one is the tangled/ messy kind of cardboard generally seen in packaging materials which is often called corrugated cardboard. However any cardboard which is thicker in nature should be first flattened out and unfolded before you can send it for recycling, the reason for unfolding the cardboard before recycling is that it is easier to transport and store when it is flattened out since it occupies less space and a large volume can be deposited and transported at the same time.
Some cardboard types are non-recyclable like milk cartons are one example because they are wax coated to prevent leakage. Others like cooking oil or wine boxes cannot be recycled because they are impregnated with oil or grease, or have a plastic liner. Before attempting to recycle any corrugated cardboard, please remove any Styrofoam and plastic sheeting – they don’t recycle and should be thrown in the trash.
What can you do?
  • Recycle cardboard yourself. Don’t wait for others to do it for you
  • Encourage businesses, schools and other large consumers of cardboard to recycle
  • Flatten all clean corrugated cardboard and transport it to the nearest blue recycling dumpster
  • For more information on recycling “the Big Four”, contact the Solid Waste Authority office at 378-4697; toll free at 1-877-548-8772; email at; or on Twitter.
    <February 2024>
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