WILMINGTON — Clinton County residents use an estimated 9,250 tons — or 18.5 million pounds — of cardboard every year.
Another way to look at it is if the cardboard we use was flattened into cubic yards, then each year we would have a 3-foot-tall by 3-foot-wide trail of cardboard stretching from Wilmington to Cleveland. Additionally, it is estimated that a single tree can produce about 17 pounds of paper — that means that over 1 million trees are lost each year just to provide enough cardboard to supply Clinton County alone.
While these numbers are jarring, recycling provides us with an opportunity to lessen the negative impacts to our landfills and to our environment.
Clinton County Solid Waste Management District has partnered with the City of Wilmington to launch a new cardboard recycling pilot program at the SWMD’s drop-off location at 1274 W. Main St., Wilmington.
Special blue containers — marked “cardboard only” — are now lat the site to accept flattened, packing material-free, corrugated cardboard. The cardboard will then be collected by the City of Wilmington, compacted and delivered to a regional processor.
This is a win-win-win-win for the SWMD, the City of Wilmington, residents who previously had limited options to recycle their cardboard and for the environment.
To make the program a lasting success, we need residents to follow these three simple rules:
• Blue containers are for clean, corrugated cardboard only (no cartons or cereal boxes).
• All packaging materials must be removed (no Styrofoam or plastic bags, etc).
• All corrugated cardboard boxes must be flattened.
Packaging materials such as peanuts, plastic bags and Styrofoam inserts — as well as the presence of any other material thrown in with the cardboard — contaminate the end product so that it cannot be effectively recycled. These contaminants defeat the purpose of trying to recycle your cardboard in the first place.
So please, remember that only corrugated cardboard belongs in the blue containers.
Cardboard boxes that are not flattened take up valuable space in the containers making it impossible for other recyclers to fit their cardboard into the containers as well. Do not rob another recycler’s ability to recycle their boxes because you did not feel like flattening yours.
This pilot program is very important to everyone involved — from the individual recyclers to the governmental authorities to Mother Nature. As such, these simple rules will be enforced and the containers will be monitored.
Now, let’s get recycling Clinton County!