Should We Remove the Tape Before Recycling Cardboard Boxes?

Whenever you buy something online, you eagerly wait for the day it arrives and when it finally does you’re excited to open the box and finally enjoy what you bought.

Then the problem comes: you have to get rid of the box. After all, you only need what was inside. But some boxes you receive come almost covered in tape, right?


Should you remove all the tape or should you recycle the box as is?

Thing is, while cardboard boxes are recyclable, tape isn’t.

Whether you need to remove the tape from your boxes or not, depends on where you live.

There are three different policies to consider:

  • In Chicago, experts say it’s helpful to remove the tape but not necessary.
  • While in Denver, it’s suggested that it’s not necessary at all, unless “the whole box is slathered.”
  • In San Francisco, it’s said that all tape must be removed.

So these are the simple steps you should take:

  • First, contact your local recycle center and ask which policy they follow. Once figured out, just try to follow the rules.
  • Second, remember to recycle all your cardboard boxes properly. It isn’t only about removing the tape or not. The box also has to be flattened, and we should remove bubble wrap and other packing materials. If the lid isn’t closed, the cardboard can get wet and decrease its value.

While most of the time the tape and stickers get removed at the recycling center, you could continue doing it yourself. It doesn’t take much time, and it feels great to contribute just one step further!

Keep in mind this too: put all your recyclables in the correct bins.

Mixing materials results in stuff getting to the dumpster instead of being repurposed or reused. It takes 8 months to 1 year for each sheet of paper someone harmlessly throws away in the wrong bin to biodegrade. If we throw it away in the correct bin, with the rest of the papers and cardboard, that sheet of paper can get a new life in a recycling center.


Taking one step further

Even though you have no control over what kind of packing tape and stickers companies use on their delivery boxes, you do have control over what you use.

Common packing tape isn’t recyclable, which why is best to avoid using it.

Self Adhesive Kraft Tape - Reinforced Brown Paper Tape

A great alternative to tape made with plastic is our Brown Paper Packing Tape. Its adhesive power is just as strong as other tapes, and better yet, is eco-friendly. This reinforced tape can secure from documents and envelopes to even the heaviest of moving boxes.

So whenever you need to recycle your papers and boxes, you won’t need to worry about harming the planet or removing all the tape.

Plastic-free shipping zero waste guarantee at Net Zero Company

You don’t also have to worry when you order from us, as we ship plastic free. 100% recyclable and home compostable.



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