Framingham Recycles: Cardboard Is Highly Valued

Editor’s Note: This is a weekly column by the Recycling Coordinator for the City of Framingham. Residents can submit questions to Recycling Coordinator Stephen Sarnosky via SOURCE at


FRAMINGHAM – Cardboard is one of the most commonly found items in every household, and its prevalence is only increasing with the popularity of online shopping.

Cardboard has long been collected in the single stream.

If clean and dry, cardboard can be segregated from other recyclables, and the City of Framingham could benefit from its disposal.

In this regard, Framingham offers residents curbside bulky cardboard pickup. Just call the Sanitation Division at 508.532.6001 and schedule a pickup.

Recyclable cardboard is one of the single most sought after commodities in the U.S. and Asia.

In fact, this type of recycling is a fast-growing industry, as it is widely used for various purposes, especially packaging.

Cardboard waste is found in huge amounts not only in households but also in businesses.

Just imagine the amount of cardboard disposed of by a grocery store? When compared to plastic and certain other waste materials, cardboard is not considered an industry problem, as most types are biodegradable.

However, if left to decompose in large quantities, cardboard can create problems in landfills.

Did you know cardboard has a recyclable end life?

Cardboard milled in the U.S. is considered a higher grade due to its fiber content.

Cardboard recycled in overseas mills tends to be manufactured without regard to its strength qualities and tears easily compared to U.S. milled cardboard.

Hence, recycled cardboard used in shipping via UPS or FEDEX tends to be higher in quality and strength.

Once produced, however, cardboard can only be recycled to its end life 5 to 7 times.

Not all cardboard can be recycled.

Non-recyclable products include waxed milk cartons, pizza boxes, and chemically treated products.

Before recycling cardboard, every type of plastic and Styrofoam attachments must be removed from the cardboard.

Staples and tapes can be left on and will be removed by machines at the processing plants.

Do not try to recycle wet cardboard or those with wax coating and/or stained with foods, oils, or grease.

Cardboard recycling has environmental benefits. Because cardboard is made from wood, recycling it will reduce the amount of forested materials needed to produce new cardboard.

Recycled cardboard production also mitigates pollution generated by new cardboard production.

Recycling Q&A

I received a question regarding how to recycle glass containers with metal lids, and are milk cartons still recyclable?

Clean glass containers can be recycled with the lids left on if you like. Keeping the lids on helps the processor retrieve the metal as well. MassDEP, in agreement with Massachusetts recycling material processors have agreed to discontinue collecting milk cartons and like materials due to their
high likelihood of contamination.

This is a direct response to China’s recycling restrictions.

A reader asked: “I want to know why there is no recycling program for the neighborhoods owned by the City’s housing authority? It’s a shame and doesn’t really make sense.”

I think this is a valid question and it’s a question that can best be answered by the Housing Authority itself. Here is a contact number for you: 508-879-7562.

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: Phone: 508-315-7176

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