Is Cardboard and Paper Recycled the Same?

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: August 20, 2022
  • Time to read: 4 min.

A lot of people presume that you can recycle all paper products together, but is that true? Is cardboard and paper recycled the same?

Cardboard and paper are not recycled the same. This is because they are constructed differently and do not weigh the same. 

If cardboard and paper are not constructed the same, then how is cardboard made and how should you recycle it? You’ll find the answers to your cardboard recycling question in this article.

Can You Make Cardboard From Recycled Paper?

Contrary to popular belief, cardboard is not made from recycled paper. So, what is it made from then? Here is a list of products that cardboard is normally derived from:

  • Paper pulp
  • Recycled wood chips from softwood trees
  • Shavings leftover from lumber mill waste

As you can see, a lot of natural resources go into the production of cardboard. So what does this mean? We should be prudent about how much cardboard we use and make sure that we recycle it when we’re done with it. 

Thankfully, cardboard is widely recycled and that makes things easier.

What Types of Paper and Cardboard Can Be Recycled?

We’re all getting rather eco-conscious and when we’re finished with a bit of paper and cardboard, we’re ready to throw it into the recycling bin. 

But, did you know that not all paper can be recycled? So, which types of paper and cardboard can be recycled and which can’t? Take a look at the list below to find out.

Types of Paper and Cardboard That Can Be RecycledTypes of Paper and Cardboard That Cannot Be Recycled
Office paper, (colored and white)Regular cardboardNewspaperComputer printing paperNormal magazinesPhonebook paper Paper towelsPaper cupsPaper that has been in contact with foodTreated paperWaxed paperPlasticized paperGlossy or laminated magazinesSome cereal boxes

Unfortunately, items that we use regularly such as paper cups cannot be recycled. So, what should you do with them? You have to put them in your general waste bin so that they can be disposed of correctly. 

Items like paper cups are treated so that they hold liquid better. This makes them resistant to water and prevents them from biodegrading. 

With that in mind, we should be conscious of our use of paper cups. But what can you do instead of using a paper cup when you are out and about? Why not try carrying a flask with your favorite hot drink? This will help to save the environment and will also save you money!

Is Cardboard Made From Paper?

Is Cardboard Made From Paper?

Cardboard and paper are both paper-based materials. But does that mean that one comes from the other? Is cardboard made from paper? Although many people think that cardboard is made from paper, it isn’t. 

Cardboard has a different development process than paper. What does this process involve? Take a look below. 

  1. Softwood trees are chosen for cardboard production. These could be pine, Scandinavian Spruce, Silver Birch, or other trees.
  2. The softwood trees are cut, lumbered, debarked, and chipped
  3. The chips are mechanically pulped and chemically pulped
  4. The paper is fluted

Is Cardboard a Recycled Item?

We all use a lot of cardboard. Whenever you buy an appliance, it comes in a cardboard box. Most supermarket merchandise arrives at stores in cardboard boxes. When you move house, you see nothing but cardboard. 

This may make you wonder, is cardboard a recycled item?

Thankfully, cardboard is a heavily recycled material. It is easy to recycle as there are many cardboard recycling centers wherever we go. 

The material is recycled and then made into more cardboard and paper products. How does the recycling process work? Here are some of the steps:

  1. The cardboard is collected at the recycling center
  2. It is sorted
  3. The cardboard is shredded into tiny pieces
  4. It is then soaked in water to soften it. This process is called pulping.
  5. The cardboard is filtered and cleaned. Any foreign items that were stuck to it are removed at this stage.
  6. The cardboard is then mixed with water to get it to the perfect consistency
  7. It is pressed, rolled, and dried to form rigid cardboard. All the water that was added to the cardboard is removed in this step. 
  8. It is cut and sent for shipping

Final Thoughts

Many people think that cardboard and paper should be put in the same recycling bin because they are both paper products. But is that really true? Is cardboard and paper recycled the same?

This article has helped us to see that cardboard and paper are not recycled the same. This is because they are of different weights and are made out of different materials. 

So, when you go to throw away old bits of paper and cardboard, make sure that you don’t confuse your bins!

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