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Reusing Cardboard & Boxboard

By Larraine Roulston:

Fluted cardboard shipping boxes with their long list of obvious storage uses, and the familiar boxboard that is used in packaging foods and other products are both recyclable. As they present plenty of opportunities for reuse, why not first give them the scenic route to the recycling depot.

Nostalgic shoe boxes, always renown for harboring old treasures, also store any number of up-to-date items such as
ribbons and bows. Their size and lid also make them suitable as suggestion boxes. Or, by adding a light and creating a peephole, children can enjoy creating scenes inside shoe boxes.

Set various boxes aside for mailing objects and using as gift boxes.

Thrift stores welcome plastic grocery bags and old newspapers/flyers to wrap customers’ glassware —so why not ask if they would like particular types of boxes donated.

Take into bakeries a suitable box to be filled with treats.

To safeguard photographs, place them between sheets of boxboard.

Makea sturdy envelope from two pieces taped together.

With artistic talent, a personcan create some imaginative chic household furniturewith cardboard.

Cereal boxes with sides cut on ananglemake excellent office file folders.

It’s lighter on school budgets when teachers reuse cardboard for art projects, posters, signs, or for a puppet show stage. Teachers generally have a collection of toilet rolls for crafts. The rolls also offer a handy method to store wire and cords. I wish that manufacturers of toilet paper would print “please recycle”on the empty rolls. All too often these rolls don’t make it past the bathroom trash pail.

Large pieces of cardboard are ideal for moving heavy furniture across a room. When painting, layer your hardwood floor or rug with them. Protect your kitchen floor by placing pieces around a toddler’s high chair to absorb spills and tossed cups.

Cardboard sheets can become makeshift toboggans.

If you are deciding what type of bathroom or bedroom matts to purchase, use pieces of cardboard in the meantime.

If playing table tennis or similar games, place cardboard pieces in areas where needed to prevent the balls from rolling under furniture.

Cardboard pieces can also help provide shelter and insulation.

When moving, you can’t have too many boxes. If, however, you do end up with extras, post them on Craigslist as giveaways. Often others in the throes of packing become rather desperate for more boxes and will gladly pick them up.

Along with a blanket, cardboard boxes that held large appliances make wonderful forts. With imagination, children can transform them into cars, trains or boats.

Pull a toddler over snow in a box with handles. That same type can serveas a laundry hamper, toy box,or a pet  bed.

Include shredded and food-soiled cardboard in your composter to add carbon. When dampened, it will help provide bedding for a worm bin.

My grandmother made baby seatssimilar to today’s car seatsout of cardboard. And my mother fashioned a cardboard box to hold her fabricwhile she smocked dresses.

Perhaps cardboard will help take us into an era of less plastic use. I’m just building a case for themby thinking inside the box!

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Larraine writes children’s adventure stories on composting and pollinating. Fun & Factual. Visit, www.castlecompost.com

About Larraine Roulston

A mother of 4 with 6 wonderful grandchildren, Larraine has been active in the environmental movement since the early l970s. When the first blue boxes for recycling were launched in her region, she began writing a local weekly newspaper column to promote the 3Rs. Since that time, she has been a freelance writer for several publications, including BioCycle magazine. As a composting advocate, Larraine authors children's adventure stories that combine composting facts with literature. Currently she is working on the 6th book of her Pee Wee at Castle Compost series, which can be viewed at www.castlecompost.com. As well, Larraine and her husband Pete have built a straw bale home and live in Ontario.

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