Recycling vs Reuse

Boxes Near Me

Recycling vs Reuse

David Levine
Owner, Boxes Near Me
Report by Marshall Styers
School of Sustainability at Arizona State University

[tab title=”System Boundaries”]

Resources associated with recycling a corrugated box


Resources associated with reusing a corrugated box


Environmental impact of Recycling a corrugated box vs Reusing a corrugated box


The process of a recycling plant and paper mill are contrasted with the equivalent goal of providing a corrugated box by Boxes Near Me


This report focuses on the benefit of reusing a corrugated box after one use, compared with recycling the same box after one use

[tab title=”Recycling Process and Resource Costs “]

Corrugated boxes must be collected by recycling company [fuel usage][5]


Corrugated must be sorted out with the help of machinery [electricity usage][5]


Sorted corrugated boxes are then compacted and baled by machinery [electricity usage][5]


Bales are transported to paper mill [fuel usage][5]


• Bales are broken down at a paper mill, then added to a repulper (a large vat full of water and electronic mixers) [water and electricity usage][5]


The paper sludge then moves on to a series of chemical cleaning vats (usually chlorine, chloride dioxide, chemicals which typically end up in waste water [chemical usage, chlorinated byproducts, electricity usage][4][5]


14,265 gallons on average of water per metric ton of finished product[6]


The pulp is then put through dryers and pressed by rollers [electricity usage][5]


The pulp is then rolled onto large reels where it is then cut in thirds and formed into corrugated boxes for new use [electricity usage][5][/tab]
[tab title=”Recycling Facts”]

Recycling one ton of cardboard[3] :

     • Saves 390 kWh of energy

     • Saves 1.1 barrels (46 gallons) of oil

     • Saves 6.6 million Btu’s of energy (~1,934 kilowatt hours)


Recycled cardboard saves 24% of the total energy needed for virgin cardboard[3].

     • Recycling reduces energy consumption in the manufacturing process, but does not eliminate consumption per box per use, if recycled after one use.


Once the cardboard has been sorted, the materials are soaked in a mixture of water and chemicals designed to break down the paper fibers and create a pulp[1] .

      • Large amounts of water are still used in the Recycling processes, where as no water or chemicals are used in Reuse. [/tab]
[tab title=”Reuse”]

No water usage


No chemical usage


No extensive sorting machinery


No electricity usage involved with the delivery and sorting process (other than overhead lighting)


Only fuel used in delivery, and pick up, with minimal amounts used in warehousing (i.e., forklifts)


Decreases total energy input into each use; the more a box is used, the longer the original energy spent to make the box lasts


All pick ups and deliveries made in 15 mile radius


Boxes Near Me

Limited land usage


Warehouse not air-conditioned


Natural gas fueled forklift


Waste free process; all “rejected” boxes get recycled[/tab]

[tab title=”Conclusion”]

Selling boxes to Boxes Near Me lowers Humana’s overall environmental impact by minimizing the amount of electricity, water, and chemicals used for each sold box’s lifetime


The boxes redistributed by Boxes Near Me will decrease demand for new boxes in the Phoenix area[/tab]
[tab title=”References”]

1. R. L. (2015, August 31). Process of Recycling Cardboard. Retrieved February 29, 2016, from


2. The Recycling Process After Collection. (1998, July 14). Retrieved February 29, 2016, from


3. W. (n.d.). Recycling Facts & Tips. Retrieved March 01, 2016, from oaks/recycle/facts.jsp


4. MacFadden, T. (1996, May). PNEAC: Fact Sheets and Case Studies: All Printing Technologies: Facts About Paper. Retrieved March 08, 2016, from


5. Corrugated Recycling Process (Rep.). (n.d.). Retrieved March 8, 2016, from Corrugated Packaging Alliance website:


6. Gunderson, J. (n.d.). Water Treatment in the Pulp and Paper Industry. Retrieved March 11, 2016, from 3/feature-editorial/water-treatment-in-the-pulp-and-paper-industry.html[/tab]


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