Paper and Corrugated Containers

What is the proper way to collect paper for recycling?

Paper recycling, whether at curbside or a drop-off sites, is generally very simple. On rainy days, don’t place newspaper, corrugated boxes and any other paper materials out because it will get wet. That’s important because when the recycling facility is processing the paper for sale, they have to keep wet paper to a minimum because the paper mill buying the paper doesn’t want to pay for waterlogged materials. Corrugated containers and boxes should be broken down before being placed at curbside or at the drop-off site.

Do not recycle the following paper products at curbside or at the drop-off site:

  • Cereal boxes
  • 12 and 24 pack beverage container boxes
  • Detergent boxes
  • Food contaminated boxes
  • Wax coated boxes

These products generally have very poor fiber content or cause problems at the paper mill.

Why are cereal boxes not accepted in most community recycling programs?

Cereal boxes and other similar food container boxes are actually made of chipboard or paperboard. It is not the quality of paper fiber that recycling facilities nor paper mills will normally purchase. Chipboard has little or no fiber value as a recycled material and is often a contamination issue for paper mills. Generally it has been recycled once before so just toss it out so not to contaminate the other materials.

Can pizza boxes be recycled in a community recycling program?

Generally speaking – no. First, the community’s program must be collecting corrugated containers as part of their recycling program. Secondly, it will depend on the condition of the pizza box. If the box has a fair quantity of grease and food on the bottom or top, then throw it out. If there is little or no grease or food on the box, throw in the recycling bin. It’s really a judgement call, but when in doubt, throw it out. Grease and food contaminated corrugated containers is a big issue at most paper mills.

How should telephone books be recycled in my community or office facility?

Several communities in the state have annual collection events for telephone book recycling. These are generally open for participation by the general public and businesses in the community. Contact the city hall, or the solid waste department in the community to find out if there is an existing program. Additionally, people can contact Keep Mississippi Beautiful or local affiliate or the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality’s Recycling and Solid Waste Reduction Program to learn about any collection programs for telephone book recycling.

Which are the highest grades of paper?

White office paper is one of the highest grades of consumer paper. This is followed by corrugated containers, newspapers, mixed paper and magazines.