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Recycling compared to Reuse

Single use 12x9x12 box

Recycling compared to reuse is something I am asked weekly.  Reusing your cardboard box is always much cheaper than it is to recycle and make a box.  While this may seem counterintuitive, as the cost are analyzed the value of reuse becomes clearer.

We are all aware that recycling helps the environment by keeping items out of the landfills.  Certain manufactured products are better suited to recycling than others.  The first class of materials that benefit from recycling are metals. All metals whether ferrous or non-ferrous are completely recyclable without almost no loss.  The metal recycling is the reason behind there are no more abandoned cars on the side of the road as was common up to the 1970’s.  The one metal that benefits the most form recycling is aluminum. Recycling one pound of aluminum (33 cans) saves about 7 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity. With the energy it takes to make just one new aluminum can from bauxite ore, you can make 20 recycled aluminum cans.

Cardboard and paper are not as easy to recycle as aluminum.  The costs involve several transportation services, sorting contaminated boxes, grinding and finally creating a box.  Paper fiber, unlike aluminum, losses structural integrity as it is processed.  Eventually the fibers become too short so virgin fibers are added to increase strength. All of this cost money which makes recycled boxes more expensive to make and purchase.

Reusing cardboard boxes which is the focus of Boxes Near Me is a more cost effective method of keeping cardboard boxes out of the landfill.  A cardboard box can be reused between three and five times.  This reduces the demand for new boxes . Reducing demand for new boxes lowers energy, transportation  and labor costs associated with  new boxes.  Reusing also conserves water.  It takes 3 gallons of water to make just one sheet of paper. A box is made of multiple sheets of paper. A typical box require as much as 9 to 12 gallon of water or more.

There are of course other cost factors that play into the overall harm to the environment.  These range from transportation cost of raw materials to finished product, the electricity to operate the machinery and the sometimes toxic wastes created by the manufacturing process. Recycling compared to reuse is something we all need to consider when deciding which box to use for personal or business needs.

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