The Recyclable Cousin of Cardboard & Paper
What do soda fridge packs, cereal boxes, paper towel rolls and tissue boxes have in common? Other than being some of the most common products we use every day, they are also all made of the recyclable material, paperboard.
Paperboard is defined as a material similar in shape and composition to paper, but generally thicker, stronger, and more rigid.
Paperboard is produced in a number of different ways so it can be quite versatile and therefore can come in many different colors, forms, shapes and sizes. This makes paperboard a very prevalent recyclable material in day-to-day life, but also makes it sometimes difficult to identify. It is certainly not as easy to spot as its recyclable cousins, cardboard or mixed paper.
Paperboard consists of numerous items you will find all over the shelves in your local grocery store, pharmacy, and mall such as: cereal boxes, tissue boxes, cracker boxes, egg cartons, paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, beer packs, soda packs, manila and bleached file folders, boxes from toothpaste or other toiletries, etc.
You may be surprised to learn that even items such as coasters, shoe boxes, gift boxes and even boxes of chocolates are all also made of paperboard.
With this product all around, it is important that we know how to identify it so we can recycle all forms of it, and not accidently dispose of it in the trash out of habit.
Use the following guidelines as a handy “cheat sheet“, you will have no trouble picking out the paperboard products in your home and office so you can start disposing of them properly-in the recycling bin! You may be surprised to find that paperboard products are literally ALL around!
Identifying Qualities of Paperboard:
- Thicker than a normal sheet of office or loose-leaf paper but thinner than cardboard.
- Since paperboard is a common material for packaging many food and household items, it is often covered in images and logos…but not always (Think: toilet paper and paper towel rolls.) Either one of these forms of paperboard is recyclable.
- Cuts easily, unlike cardboard.
- A good rule of thumb is to grab the nearest (empty) cereal box and tear a piece off. Use this as a guideline; a vast majority of paperboard has the same visual and physical properties. Just remember to recycle the rest of that box after you tear off that piece!