Author Topic: What do you do with your cardboard?  (Read 11943 times)

Prepube

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What do you do with your cardboard?
« on: October 20, 2014, 05:45:26 PM »
I do a lot of shopping online.  Everything from my dog's food (150 pounds a month!) to my underwear is delivered to my door inexpensively or free.  I am pretty sure the internet is my biggest cost-saving tool.  Having said that, I have a bit of guilt over the fact that I have also become a large consumer of packaging and cardboard.  It mostly ends up in the recycle bin, but isn't there something I can do with it?  Does it make good insulation or something?

Do you do anything creative with your cardboard and/or the boxes things come in?

Practical Magic

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2014, 06:10:03 PM »
I use the boxes 1) to ship eBay items, 2) flatten them and use the cardboard as weed control (then put bark mulch on top, and 3) I also give boxes of a certain size to a local kid who sells kindling.

Jersey

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2014, 06:47:00 PM »
I don't have a recommendation for the cardboard, but a question on the dog food. Which website do you use to purchase that much food with relatively cheaper shipping?

Rural

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2014, 06:56:51 PM »
Cardboard makes great browns for compost, or mulch for that matter, or in a pinch, I burn it and use the ashes to fertilize a bed I don't intend to use for a little while. Also firestarter, but that doesn't use much.

Cwadda

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2014, 07:25:33 PM »
A lot of people even fail to understand that cardboard can be recycled. It's a great thing right there that you're recycling it!

GizmoTX

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2014, 07:40:05 PM »
I save boxes for reshipping & recycle the rest.

Prepube

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2014, 08:14:22 PM »
I don't have a recommendation for the cardboard, but a question on the dog food. Which website do you use to purchase that much food with relatively cheaper shipping?

Petco.  They give a discount on the food for repeat delivery, which is free.  Then you can use the credits you accumulate in 5 dollar chunks toward the bill, which makes it so I can buy better food for less money.  Its still too much.  Three dogs over 125 (200, 145, 125) kill me with the food bill, but I love them all.  Want a St. Bernard?  My dogs have delayed my retirement by years, I am sure.  Nevermind, you can't have the Saint; want a Newfoundland?  He eats the most.

El Marinero

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2014, 10:47:18 AM »
Want a St. Bernard?  My dogs have delayed my retirement by years, I am sure.  Nevermind, you can't have the Saint; want a Newfoundland?  He eats the most.

Big dogs are great dogs.  Thanks for the laugh.

4alpacas

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2014, 11:04:23 AM »
I don't have a recommendation for the cardboard, but a question on the dog food. Which website do you use to purchase that much food with relatively cheaper shipping?

Petco.  They give a discount on the food for repeat delivery, which is free.  Then you can use the credits you accumulate in 5 dollar chunks toward the bill, which makes it so I can buy better food for less money.  Its still too much.  Three dogs over 125 (200, 145, 125) kill me with the food bill, but I love them all.  Want a St. Bernard?  My dogs have delayed my retirement by years, I am sure.  Nevermind, you can't have the Saint; want a Newfoundland?  He eats the most.
We also order our dog's food online.  Our last purchase was from Chewy.com.  We move around based on the price per bag.  Usually we have to buy 2 40lb bags (lasts about 6 months for our medium sized dog) to get free shipping.  I also click through Fatwallet or eBates to get cashback (usually a small percentage, but I'm ok with a few dollars for less than 1 minute of effort). 

I recycle our cardboard.  I haven't found any use for it. 

frugalnacho

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2014, 12:52:38 PM »
A lot of people even fail to understand that cardboard can be recycled. It's a great thing right there that you're recycling it!

Is it even cost effective to drive a giant truck up and down the street to haul away cardboard to recycle it?  It's just made of trees.  Just plant more trees.  It seems so easily renewable. 

I don't recycle my carboard.  I reuse it if I can, or I burn it.

ZMonet

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2014, 12:57:02 PM »
One added thought to save on cost from PetCo or Pet Smart is to buy gift cards from sites like Raise (good experience) or CardCash (bad experience).  They can usually be had for 10-15% off.

DragonSlayer

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2014, 02:57:21 PM »
I save the ones that aren't beat to heck when they get here for wrapping Christmas presents. I get some really interesting shapes form my online purchases and they're great for oddball presents.

countdown

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2014, 03:47:27 PM »
With a 4-year old and 2-year old, big boxes are decorated and transformed into rocket ships, smaller boxes are either flattened for large drawings or used for holding treasures. A shoe box just became a picnic basket this morning. Excess boxes get recycled. :)

Thegoblinchief

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2014, 05:11:36 PM »
What's wrong with recycling it?

deborah

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2014, 06:49:20 PM »
Corrugated cardboard is good for coddling moth traps around the trunks of apple trees. Thin cardboard is useful for patterns. Book covers. good backing sheets for painting, dyeing or messy stuff like that. For kneeling on in the roof space or in the garden...

VirginiaBob

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2014, 06:51:55 PM »
Shred it up, mix it with chicken innards, and feed it to the dog.  Easy cheap dog food.

firedup

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2014, 07:18:12 PM »
We order Petco too. The brown wrapping paper our cats LOVE!!! They lay on it and one of them runs and jumps on it like a pile of leaves. I was going to give some to a friend for her cat and hubby got all upset. What if they stopping using that paper for packing? He flattens it all out & stashes it.

 The boxes we fold over the tops and they use them for beds & hiding places and we even made cut outs and they use them like tunnels. They have a blast with all their Petco packing. LOL. So find someone with cats. When everything gets ratty we take it to the recycles.

Do you have snow? Cardboard boxes are great for sliding down hills.

olivia

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2014, 07:41:42 PM »
We order Petco too. The brown wrapping paper our cats LOVE!!! They lay on it and one of them runs and jumps on it like a pile of leaves. I was going to give some to a friend for her cat and hubby got all upset. What if they stopping using that paper for packing? He flattens it all out & stashes it.

 The boxes we fold over the tops and they use them for beds & hiding places and we even made cut outs and they use them like tunnels. They have a blast with all their Petco packing. LOL. So find someone with cats. When everything gets ratty we take it to the recycles.

Do you have snow? Cardboard boxes are great for sliding down hills.

Ha, I was just going to say that I let my cats plan with the cardboard boxes and paper until they get bored of them.  It's cheap entertainment for the cats and my husband and me! 

Prepube

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2014, 09:32:17 PM »
What's wrong with recycling it?

Well, absolutely nothing is wrong with recycling it. But look at all the ideas I got from posting this!  Who would've thought that I could shred cardboard and feed it back to the dogs?  Ya gotta love VirginaBob, that's for sure.  I'm looking forward to trying this out.  Now, if I only had a chicken...

frugalnacho

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2014, 08:28:48 AM »
What's wrong with recycling it?

I question whether it's even worth the hassle and resources to bother recycling it.   Is it a net benefit to society overall, or a net loss?  I am skeptical. 

GuitarStv

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #20 on: October 22, 2014, 09:46:34 AM »
It's always best to reuse something as long as possible, but recycling is significantly better than throwing cardboard in a landfill . . . which is typically where it would end up if not recycled.

BlueMR2

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #21 on: October 22, 2014, 10:00:33 AM »
Recycle some, save some smaller ones for shipping things, breakdown medium sized ones for using as gun cleaning mats, breakdown large ones to use to lie on when working on the cars.

VirginiaBob

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #22 on: October 22, 2014, 10:28:16 AM »
We order Petco too. The brown wrapping paper our cats LOVE!!! They lay on it and one of them runs and jumps on it like a pile of leaves. I was going to give some to a friend for her cat and hubby got all upset. What if they stopping using that paper for packing? He flattens it all out & stashes it.

 The boxes we fold over the tops and they use them for beds & hiding places and we even made cut outs and they use them like tunnels. They have a blast with all their Petco packing. LOL. So find someone with cats. When everything gets ratty we take it to the recycles.

Do you have snow? Cardboard boxes are great for sliding down hills.

Ha, I was just going to say that I let my cats plan with the cardboard boxes and paper until they get bored of them.  It's cheap entertainment for the cats and my husband and me!

You and your husband play in cardboard boxes? 

frugalnacho

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2014, 11:25:38 AM »
It's always best to reuse something as long as possible, but recycling is significantly better than throwing cardboard in a landfill . . . which is typically where it would end up if not recycled.

Is it though?  That seems to be the standard canned response, but I have heard conflicting arguments.  You have to have a separate fleet of trucks, and you have to drive them up and down every street, and you have to hire an additional crew to man them, and you have to have a separate facility to take the items to, and you have to have another crew to sort it all and then you have to have a special process to actually recycle the cardboard.  Is that actually more efficient than just growing more trees to make 1st generation paper/card board?

Greg

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2014, 07:39:18 PM »
It's always best to reuse something as long as possible, but recycling is significantly better than throwing cardboard in a landfill . . . which is typically where it would end up if not recycled.

Is it though?  That seems to be the standard canned response, but I have heard conflicting arguments.  You have to have a separate fleet of trucks, and you have to drive them up and down every street, and you have to hire an additional crew to man them, and you have to have a separate facility to take the items to, and you have to have another crew to sort it all and then you have to have a special process to actually recycle the cardboard.  Is that actually more efficient than just growing more trees to make 1st generation paper/card board?

My trash collection utility charges a nominal fee for recycling collection (mixed paper, cans and plastic in one bin, glass 2x month) and credits for the recycling value.  If there wasn't a market, they wouldn't bother.

In my area there is a paper mill that makes recycled content paper for instance.  It's a value-added product that I look for for instance.

frugalnacho

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2014, 08:22:14 PM »
It's always best to reuse something as long as possible, but recycling is significantly better than throwing cardboard in a landfill . . . which is typically where it would end up if not recycled.

Is it though?  That seems to be the standard canned response, but I have heard conflicting arguments.  You have to have a separate fleet of trucks, and you have to drive them up and down every street, and you have to hire an additional crew to man them, and you have to have a separate facility to take the items to, and you have to have another crew to sort it all and then you have to have a special process to actually recycle the cardboard.  Is that actually more efficient than just growing more trees to make 1st generation paper/card board?

My trash collection utility charges a nominal fee for recycling collection (mixed paper, cans and plastic in one bin, glass 2x month) and credits for the recycling value.  If there wasn't a market, they wouldn't bother.

In my area there is a paper mill that makes recycled content paper for instance.  It's a value-added product that I look for for instance.

Until you factor in subsidies, then logic and value go straight out the window.

puglogic

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #26 on: October 22, 2014, 09:46:15 PM »
Sheet mulch -- lasagna gardening.  We layer cardboard with free horse manure, free leaves, and other organic material to create new garden beds.   Or we use it as weed barrier under wood chips  We could recycle it, but find it too valuable to do that.

astvilla

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #27 on: October 23, 2014, 09:25:52 AM »
make furniture, there's a guy up in new haven who makes furniture out of cardboard and sells the cardboard chairs for $90, he's got a good business model set up.

GuitarStv

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #28 on: October 23, 2014, 09:34:31 AM »
It's always best to reuse something as long as possible, but recycling is significantly better than throwing cardboard in a landfill . . . which is typically where it would end up if not recycled.

Is it though?  That seems to be the standard canned response, but I have heard conflicting arguments.  You have to have a separate fleet of trucks, and you have to drive them up and down every street, and you have to hire an additional crew to man them, and you have to have a separate facility to take the items to, and you have to have another crew to sort it all and then you have to have a special process to actually recycle the cardboard.  Is that actually more efficient than just growing more trees to make 1st generation paper/card board?

Given that we have large areas of land devoted to landfill, that space is limited, and that consumption is increasing rather than decreasing . . . yeah, I have to believe that it's more efficient to recycle the cardboard than have that biomatter decomposing in the middle of a pile of poisons and plastics.

frugalnacho

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #29 on: October 23, 2014, 10:02:32 AM »
It's always best to reuse something as long as possible, but recycling is significantly better than throwing cardboard in a landfill . . . which is typically where it would end up if not recycled.

Is it though?  That seems to be the standard canned response, but I have heard conflicting arguments.  You have to have a separate fleet of trucks, and you have to drive them up and down every street, and you have to hire an additional crew to man them, and you have to have a separate facility to take the items to, and you have to have another crew to sort it all and then you have to have a special process to actually recycle the cardboard.  Is that actually more efficient than just growing more trees to make 1st generation paper/card board?

Given that we have large areas of land devoted to landfill, that space is limited, and that consumption is increasing rather than decreasing . . . yeah, I have to believe that it's more efficient to recycle the cardboard than have that biomatter decomposing in the middle of a pile of poisons and plastics.

Wait, why exactly do you have to believe that? You didn't provide any actual numbers.  How much space is devoted to land fills?  How much space can we possibly dedicate to landfills in the future?  Is landfill space actually scarce, or do we have plenty of space for landfills for the next 20 generations?

Last I checked into it recycling paper and plastics was a net loss.  The only reason it was even possible was because people got brainwashed into thinking it had to be done, and the government subsidized it. 

Quote from: Simpsons Episode
Principal Skinner: A half-ton of newspaper and all we get is 75 cents? That won't even cover the gas I used to go to the store to buy the twine to tie up the bundles.

Hippie: It sounds like you're working for your car-r-r. Simplify-y, ma-an!

kimmarg

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #30 on: October 23, 2014, 10:20:59 AM »
It's always best to reuse something as long as possible, but recycling is significantly better than throwing cardboard in a landfill . . . which is typically where it would end up if not recycled.

Is it though?  That seems to be the standard canned response, but I have heard conflicting arguments.  You have to have a separate fleet of trucks, and you have to drive them up and down every street, and you have to hire an additional crew to man them, and you have to have a separate facility to take the items to, and you have to have another crew to sort it all and then you have to have a special process to actually recycle the cardboard.  Is that actually more efficient than just growing more trees to make 1st generation paper/card board?

Honestly I don't know but 'just growing trees' is only the beginning. Then you cut them down and haul them to a landing with a skidder. Then the log truck comes and picks up your logs and hauls them to the log yard. The log yard sorts them by grade and pays the logger and trucker. Low grade logs are designated 'pulp' and are then chipped up (on site or sometimes at a different facility) the loads of chips are then trucked to a pulp plant. (Stay back they spew off the trucks). The pulp mill mixes the wood with chemicals to extract the fibers. The raw pulp is then sent to a paper mill to be turned into cardboard. Or now all the domestic paper mills are going out of business because pulp is shipped to china on big tankers where it is made into paper/cardboard. Then the cardboard boxes come back from china on a container ship and are transfered to the Amazon (e.g.) wear house. Then your item can be packed in a new cardboard box. Repeat every 15-25 years as the new trees grow up.

So yea, I haven't done the math but one truck picking up boxes to recycling sure seems easier to me.

arebelspy

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #31 on: October 23, 2014, 10:52:17 AM »
Penn and Teller have a great episode of their show Bullshit on how certain types of recycling (such as paper products) is bad for the environment, similar to what frugalnacho is talking about above.

I personally throw my cardboard in the trash.
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GuitarStv

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #32 on: October 23, 2014, 11:48:35 AM »
Last I checked into it recycling paper and plastics was a net loss.  The only reason it was even possible was because people got brainwashed into thinking it had to be done, and the government subsidized it. 

Paper in landfills doesn't just sit there.  It decomposes anaerobically into a lot of methane, which is one of the worst greenhouse gases.  One ton of decomposing paper creates 1.38 tons of C02 equivalents in the atmosphere (http://epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/tools/warm/Warm_Form.html).  The emissions from producing paper (logging, raw material transportation and processing, and pulping) are reduced by 2.85 tons by recycling paper.  That's an awful lot of greenhouse gas that is being avoided by recycling, which is good.  Do you have figures that show the greenhouse gas emissions of running additional waste vehicles?  I'd like to point out that in places like Toronto we used to have weekly garbage pickup and now have bi-weekly garbage OR recycling pickup . . . so we're not really running more trucks than before.

Virgin paper production is one of the most environmentally polluting forms of industry.  http://www.earthgreetings.com.au/paper,-printing--the-environment-i9/.  Recycling causes 35% less water pollution according to the EPA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_paper#Non-renewable_resources).  Reducing that is good.

Trees grow back, it's true.  Clearcutting and planting however are still extremely hard on wildlife due to habitat loss.  Related issues like soil erosion can cause silt clogging streams and have effects much further reaching than the immediate area.  Typically replanting is done of a single species of tree . . . which dramatically effects the biodiversity of an area.

I can't give you a hard figure on how much land we should devote to landfills.  Historically, land has always become more valuable as it becomes scarcer.  I can't see too many future scenarios where we need less available land, can you?  According to the EPA, even with all current recycling going on in the US 35% of the material in landfills is paper/cardboard.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2014, 12:08:54 PM by GuitarStv »

frugalnacho

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #33 on: October 23, 2014, 12:04:18 PM »
It's always best to reuse something as long as possible, but recycling is significantly better than throwing cardboard in a landfill . . . which is typically where it would end up if not recycled.

Is it though?  That seems to be the standard canned response, but I have heard conflicting arguments.  You have to have a separate fleet of trucks, and you have to drive them up and down every street, and you have to hire an additional crew to man them, and you have to have a separate facility to take the items to, and you have to have another crew to sort it all and then you have to have a special process to actually recycle the cardboard.  Is that actually more efficient than just growing more trees to make 1st generation paper/card board?

Honestly I don't know but 'just growing trees' is only the beginning. Then you cut them down and haul them to a landing with a skidder. Then the log truck comes and picks up your logs and hauls them to the log yard. The log yard sorts them by grade and pays the logger and trucker. Low grade logs are designated 'pulp' and are then chipped up (on site or sometimes at a different facility) the loads of chips are then trucked to a pulp plant. (Stay back they spew off the trucks). The pulp mill mixes the wood with chemicals to extract the fibers. The raw pulp is then sent to a paper mill to be turned into cardboard. Or now all the domestic paper mills are going out of business because pulp is shipped to china on big tankers where it is made into paper/cardboard. Then the cardboard boxes come back from china on a container ship and are transfered to the Amazon (e.g.) wear house. Then your item can be packed in a new cardboard box. Repeat every 15-25 years as the new trees grow up.

So yea, I haven't done the math but one truck picking up boxes to recycling sure seems easier to me.

Yes growing trees is just the beginning, but i'm sure that each side is more complicated than either of us truly know.  I just don't think people should accept it as fact (that recycling uses less resources and is better for the environment) without checking into it.  I honestly don't know where it stands at this point.  I agree that in general being wasteful and throwing stuff into the landfill is not good for the environment, but i'm not convinced that subsidizing and mandating recycling is a better option.

I have watched the penn and teller episode arebelspy mentioned, as well as doing some other reading on the subject.  I don't know if new technologies have improved the situation making it economically feasible to recycle paper and/or plastics or not. 

CanuckExpat

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #34 on: October 23, 2014, 01:13:24 PM »
If you compost, worms seem to love soggy cardboard. Though you would probably need a lot of worms to get through any serious amount.

When I used to have Amazon Prime, I found the boxes a god send when you eventually have to move..

Chranstronaut

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #35 on: October 23, 2014, 01:35:52 PM »
Cardboard is great for lying on when you're working under a car.  Keeps oil from staining your garage and is a lot more comfortable than lying on concrete.

sleepyguy

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #36 on: October 23, 2014, 03:52:25 PM »
Obviously your have too much but I use them for Buddy Burners.

Tin can
Leftover wax
Rolled cardboard

Make excellent source of heat and can cook (not direcly) on them.

Plus its non combustable so I store a few in the car.  Good for day hikes and emergency scenarios.  I prefer a hobo stove for camp\canoe trips though.

Dicey

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #37 on: October 23, 2014, 04:22:33 PM »
I generally flatten them and give them to the library. They use them after their book sales to donate the leftover books to charity. Sometimes I get a lot of one size, so I have had good luck offering them on freecycle. Anything else gets folded, spindled and mutilated until it fits in the recycling can. My city used to have a drive-through recycling center, which was awesome. They closed it last month, in part because the new recycling firm will be offering bigger recycling cans at no extra charge. Alas, the new cans won't be available until next March, sigh.

firedup

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #38 on: November 09, 2014, 06:55:41 PM »
We order Petco too. The brown wrapping paper our cats LOVE!!! They lay on it and one of them runs and jumps on it like a pile of leaves. I was going to give some to a friend for her cat and hubby got all upset. What if they stopping using that paper for packing? He flattens it all out & stashes it.

 The boxes we fold over the tops and they use them for beds & hiding places and we even made cut outs and they use them like tunnels. They have a blast with all their Petco packing. LOL. So find someone with cats. When everything gets ratty we take it to the recycles.

Do you have snow? Cardboard boxes are great for sliding down hills.

Ha, I was just going to say that I let my cats plan with the cardboard boxes and paper until they get bored of them.  It's cheap entertainment for the cats and my husband and me!

You and your husband play in cardboard boxes?


lol.....just the "kids"   thanks for the laugh!

stripey

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #39 on: November 09, 2014, 10:16:36 PM »
Recycling paper and cardboard uses less water than using virgin materials.

m8547

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #40 on: November 09, 2014, 10:35:06 PM »
Is it though?  That seems to be the standard canned response, but I have heard conflicting arguments.  You have to have a separate fleet of trucks, and you have to drive them up and down every street, and you have to hire an additional crew to man them, and you have to have a separate facility to take the items to, and you have to have another crew to sort it all and then you have to have a special process to actually recycle the cardboard.  Is that actually more efficient than just growing more trees to make 1st generation paper/card board?

If there was no recycling the garbage trucks would have to run twice as much (assuming garbage and recycling are equal, but it doesn't matter as long as the recycling trucks are full by the end of the route). Trucks either have to move trees and new paper or cardboard and recycled paper. It has to be processed either way whether it starts as trees or cardboard. Some of the sorting is probably automated these days (I don't see how single stream recycling could work if a person had to pick out every piece of plastic and broken glass from the paper. It's easy to get metals out with magnets and eddy currents.

The Atlanta airport has truly single stream waste management. All you have to do is throw stuff out and they go and pick out the recyclables that have value. I wonder if they recycle paper and plastic? Boulder, CO has the opposite, and it takes a lot of thought to throw something out correctly. There are separate bins for landfill, compost, metal/glass/plastic, and paper is sometimes separate too. You always have to check your plastic utensils and containers to see if they are compostable. I suspect a lot of plastic garbage ends up in the compost, so they must have a way to filter it out. Hawaii incinerates their trash to generate electricity.

Iron Mike Sharpe

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #41 on: November 10, 2014, 08:19:43 AM »
Breakdancing.

frugalnacho

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #42 on: November 10, 2014, 08:44:58 AM »
Is it though?  That seems to be the standard canned response, but I have heard conflicting arguments.  You have to have a separate fleet of trucks, and you have to drive them up and down every street, and you have to hire an additional crew to man them, and you have to have a separate facility to take the items to, and you have to have another crew to sort it all and then you have to have a special process to actually recycle the cardboard.  Is that actually more efficient than just growing more trees to make 1st generation paper/card board?

If there was no recycling the garbage trucks would have to run twice as much (assuming garbage and recycling are equal, but it doesn't matter as long as the recycling trucks are full by the end of the route). Trucks either have to move trees and new paper or cardboard and recycled paper. It has to be processed either way whether it starts as trees or cardboard. Some of the sorting is probably automated these days (I don't see how single stream recycling could work if a person had to pick out every piece of plastic and broken glass from the paper. It's easy to get metals out with magnets and eddy currents.

The Atlanta airport has truly single stream waste management. All you have to do is throw stuff out and they go and pick out the recyclables that have value. I wonder if they recycle paper and plastic? Boulder, CO has the opposite, and it takes a lot of thought to throw something out correctly. There are separate bins for landfill, compost, metal/glass/plastic, and paper is sometimes separate too. You always have to check your plastic utensils and containers to see if they are compostable. I suspect a lot of plastic garbage ends up in the compost, so they must have a way to filter it out. Hawaii incinerates their trash to generate electricity.

Yes I realize waste needs to be disposed of, and new products need to be made from virgin materials if they are not recycled, but that still didn't answer any of my questions.  Is it better from a purely resource conserving view point to recycle, or does it use less resources to simply make the items from scratch?  You need some real numbers to actually evaluate that to see if it makes sense to recycle or just toss it in the trash and make new stuff.  You also have to factor in human labor into the equation too.  Maybe recycling will use slightly less resources, but at a cost of many man hours.  Does it make sense for the government (or anyone) to spend $1,000 on labor to save 100 pounds of trees? 

Zikoris

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #43 on: November 10, 2014, 08:59:43 AM »
My boyfriend uses it to make a disposable shovel for cat puke.

Other than than that we recycle it - I believe in January our city is going to be using it for their massive compost centres, but don't quote me on that. We already compost our own shredded paper, but not cardboard.

stripey

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Re: What do you do with your cardboard?
« Reply #44 on: November 11, 2014, 05:44:54 AM »
Whether it is more resource-hungry to use virgin or recycled materials may depend on which part of the world we're talking about too (but unfortunately, I don't have hard numbers).

Any Aussies correct me if I'm wrong, but if considering the detrimental effects of plantations (usually non-indigenous trees for paper) on topsoil quality in our usually poor soils, plus the additional water (quite valuable in Australia) required to manufacture paper/cardboard from virgin materials, makes recycled paper/cardboard a winner.