Among the most common recyclable materials are paper and cardboard, which are widely used, from packaging to printing and more. The two materials are very similar, but can paper and cardboard be recycled together? In this article, we’ll answer this question and delve a little deeper into the paper and cardboard recycling process.

Can paper and cardboard be recycled together?

The short answer is yes, paper and cardboard can be recycled together. Both materials are made from wood fibres and can be processed using the same recycling methods. Later in the sorting process however, paper and cardboard are separated into more distinct categories, such as thin card, thick card, newspaper, and office paper.


However, it’s essential to ensure that the paper and cardboard are clean and free from contaminants at the beginning of the recycling process. Contaminants such as food, oil, or other materials can damage the quality of the recycled pulp and reduce its value. Therefore, it’s crucial to sort and clean the materials before recycling them.

The process of recycling paper and cardboard


Paper and cardboard waste should be collected in dedicated recycling bins and not thrown in with general waste, or it will not be recycled.


Once the waste is collected, it needs to be sorted according to the type and quality of the paper and cardboard. For example, corrugated cardboard should be separated from paperboard, and clean paper should be separated from contaminated paper.


After sorting, the paper and cardboard are compacted into bales using a baler machine. This process helps to reduce the volume of waste and makes it easier to transport and store. 


Businesses that deal with large volumes of cardboard and paper waste should consider investing in a baler, as the reduced waste size will take up significantly less space before it can be collected, and you may even be able to generate some extra revenue, as some recycling companies will pay you for your baled waste.


The baled paper and cardboard are then transported to a recycling facility where they are further processed.


At the recycling facility, the paper and cardboard bales are opened, and the materials are shredded into small pieces. The shredded paper and cardboard are then mixed with water to create a pulp, which is used to make new paper and cardboard products.

Why recycling paper and cardboard is important

The proper disposal of all waste materials is important, but recycling paper and cardboard can have a huge impact.

Cost savings

Recycling paper and cardboard can significantly reduce waste disposal costs for businesses and industries. By diverting these materials from landfills, businesses can avoid landfill fees and reduce the amount of waste they generate. Baled paper and cardboard can even be sold to recycling companies.

Environmental benefits

Recycling paper and cardboard helps to conserve natural resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and save energy. It also reduces the need for virgin materials, the harvesting of which can lead to deforestation and habitat destruction.

Corporate social responsibility

Recycling paper and cardboard is a socially responsible practice that can enhance a business’s reputation and demonstrate its commitment to sustainability. It can also attract environmentally conscious customers and employees.


The challenges of recycling paper and cardboard

Recycling paper and cardboard together can also present some challenges, including:


Paper and cardboard can be contaminated with food waste, liquids, or other materials, which can reduce their value and quality for recycling. It’s essential to keep these materials separate and clean to ensure they can be recycled efficiently.

Quality control

The quality of recycled paper and cardboard can vary depending on the type and quality of the input materials, as well as the recycling process used. Businesses should work with reputable recycling facilities to ensure that the recycled materials meet their quality standards.


Collecting, sorting, and transporting paper and cardboard waste can be a logistical challenge for businesses and industries, especially those with large volumes of waste. It’s essential to have a reliable recycling partner and a well-designed waste management plan to ensure that the process is efficient and cost-effective.


Paper and cardboard can be recycled together, however, it’s essential to follow the proper process of collection, sorting, baling, transportation, and processing to ensure the best results. It’s also important to work with a reputable recycling partner who can provide quality control and logistical support. 


By recycling paper and cardboard together, businesses and industries can save costs, reduce their environmental footprint, and enhance their reputation for sustainability. 

If you are interested in purchasing a baler to improve the paper and cardboard recycling process at your business, then please get in touch to discuss your requirements!