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Recycling cardboard now is key for future pandemic purchases

Posted at 9:15 AM, Nov 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-27 09:24:57-05

Black Friday and Cyber Monday means even more packages and cardboard boxes will be piling up on doorsteps. In the past eight months many people have upped their online ordering for essentials due to the pandemic. Now recycling all those extra cardboard boxes is key to keeping the supply of paper essentials in stock.

A new report from the Wall Street Journal said the country is seeing more residential recycling, which includes those corrugated cardboard boxes. Paper mills are figuring out how to turn that influx into things like toilet paper, paper towels, coffee cups and more boxes to meet the demand.

Rumpke is seeing that uptick as well, expecting a 20-25% increase in recycling during the holidays, and trash is following a similar pattern.

Rumpke sorts and bundles the cardboard before sending it to a number of paper mills across the Midwest which turn it into new boxes.

Molly Yeager, Corporate Communications Manager for Rumpke, said it's actually the first thing to get sorted and Rumpke wants it all.

“We want all the cardboard, we really do. But we really want you to properly prepare it before you put it at the curb,” Yeager said. “So take out all the packing that's inside of it, all those little air pocket bags, take those out of it, if it's got those packing peanuts, please take those out. Take them out and then also break down the box. Break it down small enough that you can fit it inside your recycling cart or recycling bin."

There's not a cardboard box shortage right now, but paper mills like Georgia Pacific said the demand is up about 30% and isn't slowing anytime soon.