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Do you have to remove tape from cardboard for recycling?

Recycling cardboard

No, tape doesn’t need to be removed from cardboard before it can be recycled. Tape won’t contaminate other materials in the recycling bin, and it generally won’t cause problems with the recycling machines as they are equipped to handle it and remove it at the appropriate time so it doesn’t effect the recycling.

If you want to remove the tape yourself to make it easier for the recycling machine (and help ensure a greater success rate) – always use a sharp blade or scissors instead of tearing the tape off, as this will damage the cardboard. If you can’t remove all of the residue from the cardboard, it’s best to discard it in your regular trash instead of recycling it.

If you aren’t comfortable removing the tape yourself, or are an elderly person and are unable to, don’t worry because the paper mills will remove the tape themselves during the pulping process. People are encouraged to remove the tape before placing the cardboard in a recycle bin as part of their Reduce, Reuse, Recycle program just so it helps make the pulping process more efficient. Still, it isn’t mandatory to do so.

Paper mills would prefer the tape is removed

Paper mills prefer that the adhesive tape is removed prior to processing. The sorting process utilised in making bales of recyclable cardboard does not always eliminate it, and if there is an excessive amount of tape present, then the resulting bales will receive a decreased evaluation from the mills.

The adhesive tape is included in the total weight of paper purchased by mills, and when they detect a surplus amount of plastic tape within their pulper, it’s weighed to reduce the original price given for purchase. Essentially, extra scrap equals low returns.

This is why most paper mills prefer that the tape is removed before being placed in the recycle bins.

How do paper mills recycle cardboard?

The cardboard is placed in a huge tank, almost like a milkshake blender, which is full of water and helps break the cardboard down. This machine has technology that scans the tank and pulls out anything that can’t be recycled back into paper, such as sticky tape.

Once the cardboard has been broken down, it is then sent through a series of screens and sorters. The screens help separate and sort out the different types of paper fibers, while magnets are used to remove any metal pieces that may have been in the cardboard packaging.

Once all of the sortings are complete, the remaining pulp is washed, bleached and then turned into new paper products. If the paper is being used to create cardboard again, it can go through an additional process that includes coating the paper with a wax-like substance to make sure it’s water-resistant.

This whole process ensures that your recycled cardboard boxes are made from recycled materials and not materials like wood pulp and tree bark.

By recycling cardboard, we can help reduce the environmental impacts of creating new cardboard products, as well as reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills. In addition, recycled cardboard can be used in various other industries, such as packaging and construction materials. So make sure you always recycle your cardboard boxes!