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How to Recycle and Reuse Cardboard

written by: Jennifer Claerr•edited by: Lindsay Evans•updated: 4/14/2011

Cardboard is simple to recycle and reuse. Cardboard is also one of the best materials for making art and craft projects. Read these tips and ideas for finding cardboard recycling in your area and reusing cardboard in everyday projects.

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    Cardboard Recycling Tips

    According to the EPA, about 31.4 million tons of cardboard are discarded every year. While most of this cardboard is recycled, about 23 percent ends up in the trash. This is a shame, since ardboard is a material that is easy to reuse and recycle. The easiest way to recycle cardboard is to take it to the curb in a recycling bin. Check with your local recycling program to see if they take cardboard. If not, you may be able to take it down to your local recycling center yourself. You can visit the Earth911.com website to find a cardboard recycling center near you. However, there are many other ways to reuse and recycle cardboard other than turning it into your local recycler. Using cardboard in recycled projects can save you money and help you keep yourself and the kids occupied. Before you get started, read these tips and ideas on how to sort and organize your recyclables.

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    Ideas for Recycling and Reusing Cardboard in Craft Projects

    The best type of cardboard for making recycled craft projects is chipboard. This type of cardboard is commonly found in product packaging such as cereal boxes, soda boxes and gift boxes. Chipboard is better for recycled crafts because it's flat, smooth and thin and lacks the fluting of corrugated cardboard. To create recycled cardboard crafts, you will need a pair of scissors, some craft glue or a glue stick, a craft blade and some craft paint and brushes. Recycled cardboard is useful for making crafts such as Christmas ornaments, toys, working airplanes, picture frames, hats, models of buildings and more. Cardboard toilet paper and paper towel rolls are also useful for making armatures for crafts such as human and animal figures. Corrugated cardboard makes an excellent building material. You can use it to make crafts such as cars, trucks, trains, airplanes, castles and puppet theaters. You can find many ideas for recycled cardboard craft projects on websites such as FamilyFun.com and Kaboose.com. Reusing cardboard in crafts is easy to do, so you can come up with many of your own projects.

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    Ideas for Recycling and Reusing Corrugated Cardboard and Chipboard Around the House

    One of the simplest ways to recycle and reuse cardboard is to use corrugated cardboard boxes to store household items such as old books, magazines, papers and bills. You can also recycle large corrugated cardboard boxes into play structures for your kids. Cut a rectangular hole in the top of a box to recycle it into a cardboard television set, then let the kids put on a show. Recycle a moderately sized corrugated cardboard box into a solar oven by lining the interior with aluminum foil, then cutting a hole in the lid and putting in a window made from plastic sheeting. Corrugated cardboard also makes a good material for protecting your workspace when you're making art or crafts from recycled materials, especially when using paint or varnish. You can even make puzzles out of cardboard by painting a design on the cardboard, then cutting it into interlocking pieces with a craft blade.

    These tips should help you to find plenty of uses for your old cardboard. For even more ideas, you can read "Making Crafts from Recycled Materials" and "Making Art from Recycled Materials."

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    Resources

    EPA.gov, "Commercial Recycling." http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/paper/setting/commercial.htm