Green Tips: Please recycle cardboard

Bev Harrison

The increase in mail order and consumer packaging has dramatically increased the amount of old corrugated cardboard being dumped at the Summit County Three Mile Canyon Landfill in Coalville. Tim Loveday, the county’s waste management superintendent, states that this is a “real problem and it’s frustrating.”

The problem? Like any other landfill garbage, breaking down cardboard produces greenhouse gas. Also, compacted old corrugated cardboard takes up about two and a half times more space when compared to other compacted waste — 700 pounds of corrugated card, compared to 1,600 pounds of other waste per cubic yard.

Dumping old corrugated cardboard is shortening the projected 35-year lifespan of the landfill by one year for every 10. There’s room for four more double-lined pits, or cells, on the property. One is needed now, and Loveday has requested $3.3 million in the county’s 2024 budget to create it.

Especially frustrating is the fact that when old corrugated cardboard is recycled, it earns municipalities and recyclers money. Loveday says Summit County has made money on it in past years; this year they are breaking even.

Curbside recycling is capturing 39% of residential cradboard, which means we are still dumping about 60% of it. Households that don’t have or use curbside recycling must take their old corrugated cardboard to Recycle Utah or to the landfill where if separated out, it is easily placed into on-site cardboard-only dumpsters for recycling.

Still, landfill staff see users throwing old corrugated cardboard into the mixed trash dumpsters. Throw away enough of the cardboard, and you’re throwing away money.

The message to recycle old corrugated cardboard is an old, oft-repeated one. Loveday is still asking us, perhaps with more urgency, to sort and recycle your old corrugated cardboard!

Recycle Utah, your neighborhood community, non-profit drop-off recycling center, provides these weekly tips. Visit their website for more information—

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