How Long Does It Take for Cardboard To Decompose?

logo by Editorial Staff | Posted on January 31st, 2023

Are you curious about how long it takes for cardboard to decompose? Do you want to know more about the environmental impact of using cardboard packaging?

If so, then this blog post is for you! Read on to learn more about how long it takes for cardboard to decompose and what this means for our environment.

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What is Cardboard?

Cardboard is a type of paper product that is made from recycled paper and other materials. It is used for various purposes, including packing and shipping, food packaging, and crafts. It is durable and can last for years if stored properly.

Cardboard is also recyclable, making it an environmentally-friendly choice for many applications. While cardboard can take a while to decompose naturally, there are ways to speed up the process and dispose of it properly to reduce waste.

How Long Does it Take for Cardboard to Decompose?

On average, it takes about two months for cardboard to decompose. However, this time frame can be affected by many factors, such as the amount of water and soil that the cardboard is exposed to and its size and thickness.

For example, thicker pieces of cardboard or those packed tightly together with a little surface area can take up to twelve months to break down. Additionally, the paper takes even less time than cardboard to decompose, with a time frame of two to six weeks.

Recycling is a great way to reduce your use of cardboard and ensure it is disposed of properly.

Factors Affecting Cardboard Decomposition

The decomposition rate of cardboard is mainly affected by temperature, moisture, sunlight, and other elements, as well as the presence of microorganisms in the soil.

Warmer environments promote the reproduction of microorganisms, which can speed up decomposition. Moisture is also important; cardboard that has been soaked with water can decompose more quickly than dry cardboard. Sunlight and other elements play a role, too, as they can break down the cardboard fibers more quickly.

Finally, the size and shape of the cardboard also matter – smaller pieces with more surface area exposed to the elements will decompose faster than large pieces with little surface area exposed.

How to Speed Up the Decomposition of Cardboard

To speed up the decomposition of cardboard, you can shred it into small pieces, soak it in water with a bit of liquid detergent, and start a compost pile. Additionally, putting newspaper/cardboard in your garden can kill grass and create rich soil for future plantings. All these tips can help reduce the amount of time it takes for cardboard to decompose, typically up to three months.

The Difference Between Paper and Cardboard Decomposition

Cardboard can take anywhere from months to years for it to decompose, depending on the environment and other factors. On the other hand, paper decomposes much more quickly, taking only 2 to 6 weeks.

This is due to paper’s lighter weight and thinner layers than cardboard, making it easier for microbes to break down. Additionally, paper is 100% recyclable, making it a more environmentally friendly option than cardboard.

What Can You Do with Decomposed Cardboard?

Once your cardboard has decomposed, you can use it in various ways. It can be added to your compost pile to boost organic matter. Alternatively, you can use the decomposed cardboard as mulch in your garden, helping to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

You can also use it to insulate seedling trays and help keep the soil warm during cold months. Whatever you choose to do with it, you’ll be helping the environment by minimizing landfill waste and making the most of your cardboard’s natural decomposition process.

How to Dispose of Cardboard Properly

It is important to dispose of cardboard properly to ensure it breaks down correctly. Be sure to break it down into small pieces and keep it dry, which will help the decomposition process. You can also use cardboard recycling centers or composting facilities that accept cardboard. Doing so will help reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills and reduce your carbon footprint.

What Happens if You Leave Cardboard Out in the Elements?

If you leave cardboard out in the elements, it can take years to break down completely. However, if the cardboard is exposed to high levels of moisture or water, the decomposition process can be sped up.

Additionally, if you leave it out in the sun, the cardboard will break down faster due to exposure to UV rays. It’s important to remember that when the cardboard is left out in the elements, it will be more susceptible to pests and rodents. To ensure that your cardboard is properly disposed of, you can recycle it or use it as mulch in your garden.

The Benefits of Recycling Cardboard

Recycling cardboard is beneficial because it saves trees and reduces the amount of time it takes for cardboard to decompose. Recycling also helps reduce harmful emissions from the decomposition process. Recycling cardboard can help create a more sustainable environment and reduce our carbon footprint.

Tips for Reducing Your Use of Cardboard

Reducing your use of cardboard is a great way to help the environment. To start, opt for reusable materials whenever possible. Instead of using disposable cardboard boxes, look for sturdy plastic containers or wooden crates that you can use repeatedly.

You can also purchase items made from sustainable materials, such as bamboo or hemp. Additionally, you can reuse cardboard boxes that you already have. If you need to buy cardboard, look for recycled options whenever possible.

Lastly, make sure to shop locally, so you don’t have to transport items in cardboard boxes long distances. By following these tips, you can help reduce your carbon footprint and do your part to protect the environment.


Editorial Staff

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