How to dispose of Cardboard Produce Packaging

What is the best way to dispose your cardboard produce packaging after use?  Glad you asked.  Cardboard packaging is widely accepted in recycling streams and recovered as OCC (old corrugated cardboard) that gets reclaimed into new cardboard fiber content for various packaging items.  Including new boxes, trays, consumer packaged items, paper, and even our ReadyCycle® sustainable packaging which has up to 30% recycled content.

Here are the top three ways we recommend to dispose of your cardboard produce packaging at home.

Reuse It – use it again for groceries, farmers market haul, car organization so all those groceries don’t roll all over the place, in your house or garage for organization. And excellent for starting your garden beds by using the large pieces (unfold our produce boxes or hand fold trays) as weed control. Or reusing ReadyCycle baskets for seed starts.

Compost It – plain unwaxed cardboard (which includes our ReadyCycle® sustainable packaging which has a aqeuous based coating, our produce boxes, and trays) can be composted within the brown layer in composting practice.  Cardboard, paper, shredded paper, dried leaves and plant material are all great for your brown layer in compost.  What is the brown layer? It’s the layer you alternate between the green layer, which consists of food and kitchen scraps and live plant materials.  Rip up larger pieces of cardboard to have the breakdown process during composting go faster.  Larger the pieces of anything in compost, the longer it will take to compost.


Recycle It – put it in your curbside collection bins.  These bins once collected will go to a MRF or recycling center to be sorted into market available recycling streams.  The OCC recycle stream is both well established in domestic and foreign markets.  Old corrugated cardboard is collected, sorted, bailed, and then shipped to markets for reuse into other materials including new packaging.


The end of life cycle for most packaging is not perfect.  With options like the ones listed above we hope more people begin to see there are options and to choose the best available for your circumstance and to teach and inspire others in your family, household, neighbors, and friends to understand the options for cardboard produce packaging.