Recycle! Recycle! Recycle! The April Push for Cardboard
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org;
or on Twitter.