A Look Inside the World of Corrugated Cardboard Recycling

People, collectively as a society, recycle cardboard and other goods to reduce pollution, eliminate waste, and improve the climate. Although, rarely do people know what happens to cardboard after it is placed in a recycling bin.

It takes many steps to turn old, used pieces of cardboard into new sheets for boxes and containers.

While there are many ways to do corrugated cardboard recycling, all processes start with collecting recycled goods. This includes glass and plastics, which are then separated after being mixed with water to make a paste.

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The paste needs to be tempered through various processes to reduce moisture and create the appropriate texture needed to hold goods eventually.

Special purpose manufacturing equipment like the “noodle” breaks the paste into a fine texture. Chemicals also may be added to improve water or fire resistance.

Lastly, the composition gets pumped and laid out through a rotating barrel. As the paste begins to form into a solid, a vacuum drum rolls over it, and steam blows onto it to reduce moisture and eventually turn it into sheets.

The sheets can then be layered to make corrugated cardboard or sandwiched between a layer of gypsum to make ceiling tiles.


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