Cardboard is an incredibly versatile and useful material which is used for everything from packaging to furniture.
Cardboard is so useful that we make tons of it every year, but is cardboard biodegradable and is our use of it harming the environment? We find out in this article.
What is Cardboard?
Cardboard or corrugated cardboard / fiberboard is made from paper pulp. The result is a rigid material that is stronger than paper.
The physical structure of cardboard consists of a fluted corrugated sheet and one or two flat linerboards that form a sandwich. Cardboard is made on “flute lamination machines” or “corrugators” and is typically used for making cardboard boxes.
Is Cardboard Biodegradable?
Yes, cardboard is biodegradable.
Just like paper, cardboard will biodegrade when left outside and exposed to wind and rain.
Corrugated cardboard biodegrades completely within a year. As a form of cellulose its decomposition time is short and can be shortened further if exposed to favourable weather conditions such as high humidity.
The fact that cardboard biodegrades so quickly is a huge benefit to the environment as it means that cardboard waste that is illegally dumped or otherwise ends up scattered outside doesn’t have a lasting negative impact on our eco system.
Is Cardboard Eco Friendly?
Cardboard is a material with one of the lowest environmental impacts. Its manufacture results in a reduction of up to 60% in CO2 and crude oil emissions compared to other materials with similar uses.
The fact that cardboard can be recycled and composted increases its sustainability credentials and lowers its carbon footprint.
Recycling cardboard reduces the number of trees that are felled to produce virgin cardboard. This helps to reduce the impact of deforestation which in turn lowers the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
The other benefit of composting and recycling cardboard is that much less of it is sent to landfill. This is a huge benefit and allows us to conserve landfill space for waste that cannot be recycled.
Cardboard is biodegradable, compostable and recyclable.
Its widespread adoption in several industries has helped us to reduce the amount of plastic used for packaging and logistics. And because cardboard is so easy to recycle and reuse, the amount of waste we send to landfill is slowly being reduced.