Can tissue boxes be recycled? (3 materials that makeup tissue boxes) 

In this article, it shall be assessed whether tissue boxes are recyclable or not. Other aspects covered in the article will be: 

  • What are tissue boxes made of?
  • What is the environmental impact of tissue boxes?
  • Can tissue boxes be biodegraded?
  • What is recycling?
  • Can tissue boxes be recycled?
  • FAQs

Can tissue boxes be recycled?

Yes, tissue boxes can be recycled because tissue boxes are mostly made from natural, plant-based materials. 

Tissue boxes are also biodegradable and may also be used as compost which can be employed as a natural fertiliser, saving the world from the trauma of synthetic fertilisers. 

However, the production of tissue boxes may impact the environment because trees are cut to meet the needs while also using agrochemicals and non-renewable resources. 

What are tissue boxes made of? (3 materials that makeup tissue boxes) 

The analysis of the material involved in the making of tissue boxes is really important in determining the environmental impact of tissue boxes. 

This environmental impact includes whether tissue boxes are biodegradable, whether can they be recycled, and also is it possible to compost tissue boxes.

All these questions are very important to answer and know as a responsible consumer because this is the only way out for us, sustainably. 

The current age is thronged with thousands of consumer products. All these products deliver great utilitarian values. 

But the target in today’s times is not only the utility but also the environmental impact and sustainability. 

If a product is of good utility, but that comes at the cost of our environment and human health, then there is a great price hidden behind that utility. 

A good example can be plastics. Plastic products are very reasonable and deliver great quality. However, it is seen that plastics are not that reasonable after all. 

Plastics affect and degrade the environment in the worst possible way because plastic products are usually non-biodegradable and may pollute the environment. 

The impacts of plastic products are not just limited to the environment, but also reciprocated to humans. Therefore, it is very important to know the environmental impact of consumer products and for that, it is essential to know what materials are involved in the making of those consumer products. 

Coming back to our main topic, tissue boxes are primarily made from cardboard. Cardboards are made from paper pulp material. Therefore, it is plausible to assume that the source of materials involved in making the tissue boxes are plant-based materials. 

Tissue boxes may also be made out of other materials like plastics, wood or even leather; however, most tissue boxes are made from plant-based materials (cardboard). 

The materials that makeup tissue boxes are: 

  • Cardboard
  • Plastic
  • Leather 

What is the environmental impact of tissue boxes?

This section will cover the environmental impact of tissue boxes because it has already been asserted that it is very important to know how various consumer products impact our environment. 

The environmental impact assessment will allow us to be responsible consumers and make sustainable choices toward a green future. 

We have assessed the various materials that are involved in the making of tissue boxes. We have seen that most of the tissue boxes are made from cardboard. Whereas, other materials involved in tissue box making may be paper, plastic or leather. 

As far as the environmental impact of tissue boxes is concerned, it is usually perceived that since tissue boxes make use of natural materials, there will be no environmental impact of tissue boxes.

However, this statement is a bit far from reality. This is primarily because every consumer product will have some impact on the environment, be it large or small. 

This is because every product is made at the expense of raw materials and there is the energy required to create and finish the products. 

Although tissue boxes are mostly made from natural materials, it does not mean that there will be no impact on tissue boxes. 

This is because the production of tissue boxes means the cutting of trees for the extraction of raw materials. This is okay to a certain degree. But, if tissue boxes are made in unsustainable amounts, there will be a lot of tree cutting which will impact us. 

It is already asserted that humans have been responsible for the reduction of tree count by more than 50%. Fewer trees mean greater impact on the environment. 

Further, the production of tissue boxes would also mean that agrochemicals will be used to meet the production criteria. These chemicals, like fertilisers or pesticides, will pollute waterways and soil as well. 

The production process of tissue boxes involves the use of non-renewable resources. These resources like electricity usually are sourced from fossil fuels. Such resources are known to contribute to GHGs emissions which may cause global warming and other related problems. 

Can tissue boxes be biodegraded?

Biodegradability is a process to ensure that waste gets back to the system. It is a breakdown of complex waste into simpler substances by the action of microbes 

Biodegradability is an important check because it ensures that there is less waste generation and waste accumulation.

That is because, if there is greater waste accumulation, there will be negative impacts on the environment and human health. 

To understand the importance of biodegradability, consider the analogy of your house. Let us say that you are not able to dispose of your waste in your house. What do you think will happen?

Your house will get dirty, right? Imagine that for some reason, you are unable to dispose of waste in your house for 200 years. Can you imagine the repercussions?

The same is the case for biodegradability. If there is no biodegradability or let’s say, waste can not be biodegraded, it may remain for hundreds of years which will eventually make our planet uninhabitable. 

However, there is good news here. Since tissue boxes are mostly made from plant-based materials, tissue boxes can be biodegraded. 

That is because natural materials can be degraded by the action of microbes. Whereas, non-natural materials like synthetic fabrics or synthetic resins may not be biodegraded. That is because microbes are unable to break down their structures. 

As a result, these materials may remain for hundreds of years in the environment leading to all sorts of damages. 

What is recycling?

Recycling can be explained as a process of reusing materials and products by making certain changes to them. 

It is a great way to ensure that there is less waste generation and that the world is saved from the detrimental impacts of non-biodegradable waste. 

Recycling adheres to the 3R approach boosted by scientists and environmentalists. It also prostrates the philosophies of sustainability and SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) 

As per some definitions, recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials so that the impact of waste materials may be deterred and energy may be saved. 

Some of the common materials which can be recycled include:

  • Paper
  • Plastic 
  • Glass
  • Metals
  • Batteries 
  • Electronics

The most prominent use of recycling is that fewer amounts of waste are produced and sent to landfills. Therefore, if there is recycling, there will be better management of waste by the waste management authorities. 

Recycling would also mean that the negative effects of waste are avoided on the environment and life. For example, synthetic polymers like plastics may convert into microplastics when disposed of. These microplastics may cause all sorts of problems. 

These may include loss of life, toxiciation of water ecosystems, infiltrations into the food chains, medical complications, and soil pollution – to name a few. 

However, if materials like plastics are recycled then there is less chance for these negative impacts. At least, there is a way to deter and avoid these impacts as long as biodegradable and non-biodegradable materials and products are recycled. 

Another advantage of recycling is that it leads to the conservation of natural resources. To explain this, let us take an example of paper. Paper is obtained from trees and it is a biodegradable product. If the paper is not recycled and disposed of instead, then it means that to meet the need for more paper, there will be further cutting of trees. 

This will impact the world in a very negative way because natural resources like trees and water are already very limited. If there is no recycling, there will be unsustainable misuse of resources which will steer us away from the fundamentals of sustainability. 

Recycling is not just great for the environment but also for the economy. Because recycling involves reusing products, that means that half of the work is already done. 

This gives a positive jolt to the economy and the budget. There is lesser use of energy and non-renewable resources. 

This also means that recycling is a measure to make sure that there are fewer GHGs in the atmosphere so that the issue of global warming may also be tackled. 

This is important because global warming leads to countless other environmental problems as well that may include rising sea levels, insect attacks, unprecedented weather patterns, melting of glaciers et cetera. 

Another major benefit of recycling is that there is less pollution when producers and manufacturers resort to the practices of recycling. This is because there is little to no collection of raw materials and resultantly, the effects such as pollution and environmental toxicity are also avoided in this way. 

Can tissue boxes be recycled?

After the details covered in the previous sections, it is now possible to build a stance on the subject question. 

Yes, tissue boxes can be recycled because tissue boxes are mostly made from natural, plant-based materials. 

Tissue boxes are also biodegradable and may also be used as compost which can be employed as a natural fertiliser, saving the world from the trauma of synthetic fertilisers. 

Conclusion

It is concluded that the composition of any product is essential in determining its environmental impact. 

Tissue boxes are usually made from cardboard (obtained from paper pulp). Other materials used may be plastic and leather. 

Tissue boxes can be recycled and also are biodegradable. 

However, the production of tissue boxes may impact the environment because trees are cut to meet the needs while also using agrochemicals and non-renewable resources. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Can tissue boxes be recycled?

Can you compost tissue boxes?

Yes, you can compost tissue boxes because they usually contain organic content while being non-toxic. 

Can tissue boxes biodegrade?

Yes, tissue boxes may biodegrade in 2-6 weeks. That is because most tissue boxes are made from plant-based materials. 

References

  • Merrild, H., Damgaard, A., & Christensen, T. H. (2009). Recycling of paper: accounting of greenhouse gases and global warming contributions. Waste Management & Research, 27(8), 746-753.
  • Aciu, C., Iluţiu–Varvara, D. A., Cobirzan, N., & Balog, A. (2014). Recycling of paper waste in the composition of plastering mortars. Procedia Technology, 12, 295-300.
  • Pommier, S., Llamas, A. M., & Lefebvre, X. (2010). Analysis of the outcome of shredding pretreatment on the anaerobic biodegradability of paper and cardboard materials. Bioresource Technology, 101(2), 463-468.

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