Can Cardboard Waste Go in a General Waste Bin?

cardboard being recycled

One common question is: can cardboard go in general waste?

As a UK business owner, managing waste disposal efficiently and responsibly is crucial.

The short answer is, that cardboard shouldn’t go in your general waste bin.

Disposing of cardboard in general waste bins is not only environmentally unfriendly but also misses an opportunity to recycle a valuable resource.

In this blog, we’ll explore why recycling cardboard is essential, provide some compelling facts and statistics, and answer frequently asked questions to help you manage your business waste better.

Table of Contents

cardboard rings

The Importance of Recycling Cardboard Waste

Cardboard is one of the most recyclable materials available, and its recycling has significant environmental and economic benefits:

  • Energy Savings: Recycling cardboard saves up to 90% of the energy needed to produce new cardboard from raw materials.

  • Resource Conservation: One ton of recycled cardboard can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 4000 kWh of electricity, and 7,000 gallons of water.

  • Waste Reduction: Cardboard accounts for a substantial portion of business waste. Recycling helps reduce the volume of waste sent to landfills, which are becoming increasingly overcrowded.

Did you know that you can sell cardboard waste? Read more in our guide!

Statistics on Cardboard Waste in the UK

  • Recycling Rates: The UK recycles about 84% of its cardboard packaging.

    This high rate is thanks to widespread curbside recycling programmes and commercial recycling initiatives.

  • Economic Impact: The recycling industry contributes approximately £6.8 billion to the UK economy annually, supporting around 50,000 jobs.

Why Cardboard Waste Shouldn’t Go in General Waste Bins

Disposing of cardboard in general waste has several downsides:

  • Environmental Harm: Cardboard in landfills contributes to methane emissions as it decomposes anaerobically, a potent greenhouse gas.

  • Missed Recycling Opportunities: Cardboard is easy to recycle and in high demand. When it’s thrown away, valuable resources are wasted.

  • Increased Costs: Sending large volumes of cardboard to landfill can increase waste disposal costs for your business due to landfill taxes and fees.


For UK business owners, managing cardboard waste responsibly through recycling is not just a legal and environmental obligation but also an opportunity to contribute positively to the economy and reduce operational costs.

By recycling cardboard, you are not only conserving resources and energy but also reducing your carbon footprint and supporting the recycling industry.

Feel free to reach out for more information or if you have any additional questions on managing business waste effectively.


  • Can I Put Cardboard in General Waste?
  • How Should I Prepare Cardboard for Recycling?

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