As the smoke clears from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, millions of cardboard boxes — and innumerable packing peanuts — will begin to surface on curbs across the country, which means consumer recycling habits are now in the spotlight.
According to local Missouri news affiliate Fox 4 KC, there is an effort throughout the state to promote recycling during this, the busiest season of the year for online shopping. Nathan Corn, owner of local food-shipping business FlexPro Meals, said that he’s aware of how important it is for his customers to recycle.
“Shipping is a huge part,” said Corn. “You have to pretty much create a refrigerator or freezer in a box.”
Because his business is solely based around shipping healthy one-week meals in large boxes, Corn has created a specific type of packaging that maintains the freshness of his products while also benefiting the environment.
“We make them so that they’re easy to break down and very easy to set aside rather than having a big old cooler that you can’t do anything with,” said Corn.
Corn’s efforts are helping to achieve the goals of people like Matt Riggs, the Outreach Coordinator for the Mid-America Regional Council Solid Management District. Riggs is behind a statewide campaign called Recycle More, and he sees wasted cardboard boxes every day in his line of work.
According to Recycle Across America, less than 35% of households and 10% of businesses in the U.S. currently recycle on a regular basis. When it comes to cardboard, over 90% of all U.S. products are shipped in corrugated boxes, totaling more than 400 billion square feet of cardboard.
Recycling reduces pollution by about 95% compared to cardboard made with trees, and people like Riggs are hoping to spread the word on how important recycling is before consumers begin throwing out their Black Friday boxes.
Speaking of holiday recycling, if you felt a little déjà vu on Black Friday this year, you’re not alone. According to Oregon Live, personal finance website WalletHub is reporting that an estimated 11% of Black Friday deals in 2015 were the exact same as last year.
The study goes on to note that Big Lots, Costco, and Best Buy were the worst discount-recycling offenders with as much as one-sixth of their deals remaining unchanged from last year.
As for physical recycling, Riggs went on to say that stores like FedEx are more than happy to take shipping materials such as boxes, bubble wrap, and packing peanuts. Those who do not have curbside recycling are urged to drop them off at such establishments to avoid unnecessary waste.