Dispose of Cardboard Right

Cardboard must be empty, clean and dry when placed in recycling. Remove all the packing material from inside the box, then flatten to conserve space and ensure the boxes are sorted properly at the recycling facility. Also, boxes, paper and cardboard should be kept out of the rain and wet weather.

All corrugated cardboard, paper and boxes, including boxboard, paperboard and clean pizza boxes, can be recycled. Place boxes that are empty and flattened in your curbside recycling.

Mixed paper recycling bins, typically found in school or municipal parking lots, nonprofits, places of worship and in the Cleveland Metroparks, accept flattened cardboard. Royal Oak Recycling (Paper Retriever) and Integrity Fiber (fka. River Valley Paper Company) do not provide a regularly-updated list of their locations to the Solid Waste District. Check with your city service department to see if they have a list of locations for mixed paper bins in your community.


The Solid Waste District hosts a Royal Oak Recycling Paper Retriever bin. The mixed paper recycling bin, located in our parking lot at 4750 East 131 Street in Garfield Heights, accepts corrugated cardboard, boxboard, mixed paper, shredded paper, junk mail, magazines and office paper. 


Be a good recycler. Rain and precipitation in the District's mixed paper collection bin makes the paper wet and can ruin recycling efforts. We appreciate recyclers that close the lid of the bin after they've placed paper or cardboard inside it. 


Why should I keep cardboard and paper dry?

When cardboard gets wet, it lowers the quality of the cardboard and its usefulness for recycling. Each time cardboard gets wet and dries out, the fibers become shorter, making the cardboard brittle, crumbly and less valuable to recyclers.


Wet cardboard tends to get moldy quickly, which lowers its value as a recyclable commodity. Additionally, wet cardboard is difficult to sort at the materials recovery facility (MRF) where your curbside recyclables are sorted and baled. The machines that sort cardboard are designed to handle dry, lightweight materials. Heavy, wet cardboard may jam equipment and not get properly sorted causing it to be thrown away. If it can't be contained in an enclosed cart, it's recommended that residents only put paper and cardboard out on a dry day. 


See more about recycling paper and boxes.

Businesses can recycle cardboard through specialized companies. For business locations, see the list of options below.



Looking to recycle, donate or dispose of other items? Use the dark blue 'What Do I Do With?' search bar at the top of every page of this website. Allow location services or use the city drop-down to find opportunities in your local area.