Cardboard is one of the most common materials you’ll find at home. Just open your kitchen cupboard and see how many products come in cardboard packaging. Cereals, biscuits, rolls of foil; the list goes on.
And cardboard isn’t limited to the actual product casing, it’s also the packaging of choice when shipping products. More than 90 percent of products people ship all over the United States are in corrugated boxes. In one year alone, shipping and warehousing giant Amazon shipped a whopping 5 billion products in paper packages or cardboard boxes.
All these cardboard packages and boxes also make up a lot of trash. You can help reduce this enormous load of garbage by reusing, upcycling, or recycling your cardboard waste.
Here are three fun ways to give your cardboard trash a new lease on life.
New Storage Containers
Cardboard, especially corrugated containers, are very sturdy. When you’re opening packages or shipments, take care not to damage the box and you could have new storage containers.
Below are some fun ideas to consider when upcycling your cardboard.
- Cover long shipping boxes with your favorite wallpaper or fabric swatches. Secure the bottom of the box with duct tape or glue and weigh it down with a few large rocks. Voila! You have a fancy new umbrella stand.
- Collect multiple boxes roughly less than half a foot long. The small boxes pancake mix comes in is perfect for this purpose. Put them together and use hot glue to bind each box securely. Cover the connected boxes with a roll of gift wrapping paper and you have a fancy new organizer.
- Cover a shoebox with foil or wallpaper. Fill it up with as many cardboard toilet paper rolls as you can. Apply glue to one end of each roll to make sure they don’t fall out. Your shoebox is now a nifty organizer for cords, jewelry, or writing implements.
Simple Art Projects
Cardboard is a versatile material, and you can use it to explore your artistic side. You only need glue, a craft knife or boxcutter, and your choice of coloring material.
- Flatten big boxes and cut them into separate panels. Use white house paint to turn them into blank canvases. You now have a steady supply of cheap surfaces to paint on.
- Create sculptures by stacking multiple layers of corrugated cardboard. Build them one layer at a time by tracing their outlines on the cardboard and using glue to stick them together. Cover with a thin layer of paper mâché and paint.
- Use different cloth swatches or gift wrapping paper to make fancy wall hangings. Cover a piece of cardboard with cut out magazine pictures to make a colorful vision board.
Great Gardening Compost
Do you own a garden or a window box? Then you already know how important good compost is to ensure healthy growth. Give back to the earth by composting your cardboard waste.
These steps will let you start a compost heap from your cardboard.
- Shred the collected cardboard into small pieces and mix it with dead leaves or straw.
- Add nitrogen-rich substances, such as cut grass, fruit peels, or vegetable, on top of the shredded cardboard.
- Cover the pile up with some soil.
- Make sure the pile is nice and moist, like a sponge.
- Use a shovel or a pitchfork to turn the pile once a week.
In as little as half a year, you can use your cardboard waste to help your plants grow.
Cardboard is a versatile substance, but it’s not as versatile as your imagination. These three methods are only a few ways you can use your cardboard waste. The next time you empty a box of cereal or a receive a package, use your imagination to think of new ways to use the incredible material in your hand.