Lockdown has had many unexpected consequences on our lives. From the reliance on technology for communication to the mandatory wearing of masks, several things we would have thought implausible a year ago have become staples of our everyday life.
The start of the month threw up another of these changes as reports spread that cardboard is now in short supply due to a surge in home deliveries. It is estimated that an extra 200 million items were sent to homes in the build-up to Christmas as fewer people were able to shop in stores.
Reports suggest that the shortage stems from e-commerce giants buying up large supplies of cardboard to ensure that they can fulfil their deliveries. Yet, the issue has also affected supermarkets and smaller retailers alike. In recent weeks, you may have noticed your eggs being sold in plastic rather than cardboard containers, which is due to a lack of pulp to make the usual cardboard boxes.
As a result of the crisis, demand for cardboard boxes is five years ahead of where it was expected to be before the pandemic. This has caused cardboard prices to rise to five or six times what they were at this time last year.
All of this makes the recycling of cardboard more important than ever. Cardboard is one of the most efficient materials to recycle, with roughly 85 per cent of cardboard made from recycled materials. Yet, it is estimated that seven million tonnes of cardboard are still sent to landfill in the UK every year.
When recycling cardboard, it is important to make sure that it is not contaminated, which can affect our ability to recycle the whole batch. Casepak’s guide to recycling [Link] offers helpful advice and tips on how to ensure that your cardboard and other materials are ready for recycling when they arrive at our plants.
For cardboard, contamination can occur if it is wet or covered with grease and food waste. As such, we cannot recycle pizza boxes and you should make sure that all your recycling is dry before you put it in the recycling bin. When recycling cardboard from home deliveries, you should also remove all tape from the boxes so that the cardboard can be processed easily.
Both our Materials Recycling and Collections and Processing facilities are remaining open throughout the lockdown to recycle your materials. So, it is important that we all continue to place clean recycling in the right bins to help us turn around this cardboard shortage and keep deliveries running.