Recycling Know-No’s: What’s Brown, Flat, and Multiplies? CARDBOARD

February 9, 2022
Recycling bins at Bedford’s Compost Center on Carlisle Road ~ Courtesy image (c) all rights reserved

~ Submitted by Liz Atanavaca, Bedford’s Recycling Coordinator

Cardboard has always been a valuable commodity. Called “OCC” or old corrugated cardboard, the material is in high demand in the recycling market, driven by the sudden surge in online orders. Recyclers want your used fiber products and Bedford residents are recycling them by the dumpster load. 

All cardboard pieces bigger than the size of a credit card belong in the recycling stream, even your pizza box. (But please, keep the pizza, the recyclers don’t want your leftovers.) Yes, even your pizza box! The recycling process has evolved enough that a little bit of grease is okay. Don’t believe it? Old habits die hard. It’s true. Your pizza box belongs in the blue cart. Check out the pizza box page on, the state-run website for recycling in Massachusetts.!rc-page=296078

There’s so much cardboard out there you may have trouble fitting it all in your blue bin. Bedford residents can bring overflow cardboard to the Compost & Recycling Center, 108 Carlisle Rd, every Wednesday and every other Saturday from 8to 1 p.m. Please do not use the dumpsters at our schools or municipal buildings. Our schools can’t recycle when the dumpsters intended for their buildings are filled with residential cardboard. 

Another way to reduce the amount of cardboard you need to truck over to the Compost Center is to consider reusing before recycling. Sturdy cardboard boxes are in high demand for folks that are moving. Offer them to a neighbor in a Buy Nothing Facebook Group, Freecycle page, or Craigslist. Reuse is even better than recycling because it reduces the need for new raw materials. You can still recycle those boxes at the end of their lives. 

Read more about the hidden life of cardboard recycling in this 2020 Recycle Smart MA newsletter

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