Dec 15, 2017

Cardboard Mania - Guest blog

Words by Sarah Hayes

It’s hard to get people interested in cardboard, a material associated with bog rolls and boxes. But ‘tis the season of unnecessary packaging! And with 15,000 scientists recently signing a letter to humanity agreeing an apocalyptic fate is due- even with Al Gore’s attempt, we’ve failed to save our planet from our relentless itch to pollute and destroy (who knew), it’s a good time to at least try and get an eyebrow or two raised.

Understanding that in the UK alone 300,000 tonnes of cardboard is used and thrown away during the holly jolly season, is a good place to start. To picture it, the waste can wrap around The Angel of the North over 2 millions times. Our eccentric neighbours over the Atlantic, slaughter approximately 493 million trees per year for their cardboard ‘needs’- no point emphasizing the negative effect this creates for everyone on our dying planet.

When it was first used to line tall hats of the ruling elite in 1856, I doubt the creator predicted his nifty paper variation would be the most highly manufactured inhabitant of landfills (40% of our trash mountains). Thankfully, the clever chap made it completely recyclable, though it’s obvious most of us ignore this fact (since puberty, a majority find that cardboard lacks that endless childish thrill anymore).

Allow me to repeat: cardboard, corrugated or smooth, is 100% recyclable. Our disposal lifestyle has had a cure all this time and, yet, we’ve been shooting it off like a sick child and off-brand Calpol.

As ever, however, there are those conscious enough to change the bad to good. Europe's leading cardboard manufacturer and recycling company, DS Smith, produce a colossal 15 billions boxes a year from recycled paper fibre. In just 14 days, the material is designed, manufactured, sold then returned to become clean, new functioning cardboard. Riveting stuff once you know that our heros at DS Smith alone save 360,000 trees a year. Using a simple method of breaking the card down by hot water and rolling it out flat to dry in massive sheets, the papermill causes little greenhouse effect compared to the plastic-burning infernos.

For the rest of us without a handy compactor and a buddying papermill, we can still do something extraordinary. Aside from the blatantly fantastic solution to recycle, we could awaken our crafty spirit by reusing cardboard for DIY lifehacks or money-saving Christmas presents!

Materialism is as lively as ever, increasing our need to protect more products, so, it’s best we start giving a toot about cardboard and it’s total recycling and upcycling abilities.

While we recycle, why not get kooky with cardboard also, and conserve our hard earned dosh with lifehacks- just think of it as a saved trip to IKEA.

‘The Scrunch Test’

As Christmas wrapping paper tubes become lightsabers and evil-slaying swords to our inner child, why not battle the urge to throw away wrapping paper in your refuse bin, also!

To test if your wrapping paper is a-okay to recycle, scrunch the paper in your hands and if it stays the shape of a ball, then go ahead and recycle!

Any metallic-looking or glittery paper is sadly unrecyclable, no matter how fabulous it looks. If you can resist blinding your loved ones, then try out other wrapping paper with as much sass and more eco-loving properties.

By Sarah Hayes

Easy. Smart.
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