Tag Archives: cardboard

Kids Teaching How To Reuse…

Kids Teach Us to Recycle and Reuse!

Hailey is an 8-year-old recycler who really knows how to reduce the amount of trash in the landfills and reuse packaging material in her home. She shows off a home she made for her stuffed pig, Wilbur – cutting the box and adding leftover wallpaper to make him his very own designer pig pen. Best of all, the cardboard from his packaging will not be forced to sit in a landfill for 15 years before decomposing!

Hailey also converted an old glass food jar into a piggy bank. This small action saves the glass from ending up in a landfill for an astounding 1 million years!

What Can I Do To Make a Difference?

You may be wondering, “Where should I start?” Take a look at the City of Novi, Michigan’s rundown of how long it takes for your trash to decompose naturally, which should get the creative gears in your head spinning…

Napkins 1 – 3 weeks
Traffic Ticket 2 – 4 weeks
Banana/Orange Peel 2 – 5 weeks
Paper Bag 1 month
Paper 2 – 5 months
Newspaper 3 – 6 months
Carry-out Tray 3 – 9 months
Rope 3 – 14 months
Carry-out Food Bag 4 – 8 months
Cotton Rag 5 months
Bamboo Pole 1 – 3 years
Wool Clothing 1 – 5 years
Cigarette 1 – 12 years
Styrofoam cups 1 – 100 years
Plastic-Coated Paper 5 years
Plastic bags 10 – 20 years
Painted Wooden Stake 13 years
Plastic Film Container 20 – 30 years
Nylon Fabric 30 – 40 years
Leather Boot 40 – 50 years
Rubber Sole (of a boot) 50 – 80 years
Leather up to 50 years
Plastic Bottles 70 – 450 years
Tin Can (soup or vegetable can) 80 – 100 years
Aluminum cans 200 – 500 years
Plastic 6-pack Rings 450 years
Diapers 500 – 800 years
Plastic Jug 1 million years
Glass Bottle unknown? forever?

You Still Need Help?

If you’re stumped for ideas, you can find many resources online. For instance, PlanetGreen.com lists five uses for just about everything – from old shoelaces and chopsticks to bottle caps and plastic bags.

FamilyFun.Go.Com also has a treasure trove of activities for a rainy day when you’ve got nothing better to do than… oh… save the planet. It may seem like a small step, but if every person in America recycles just one piece of packaging, that saves over 311 million items from cluttering our landfills.

Here at Vocal Trash, we love to see young people who are creative and passionate about conservation. Let us know what projects you’ve been working on to recycle, reduce, reuse and you just might end up in a future episode of the Vocal Trash Street Show!

As always, remember to…

“THINK…Before you THROW IT AWAY!”


Vocal Trash Members Vocal Trash is a troupe of environmental entertainers who have been engaging audiences with their unique and exciting brand of entertainment for a decade from New York to Seattle. Whether in Madison Square Garden or the Venetian Hotel and Casino,  Vocal Trash is environmentally conscious using upcycled materials on stage. The group asks that you “THINK… before you throw it away!”

How Do You Reuse Magazines and Newspapers? (Video)

What Can You Do With Magazines & Newspapers?

What do you do with your old magazines when you’re done reading them? Do they sit around your house for years? Do you just throw them in the trash? Even though you can recycle them, 25 PERCENT of our landfills are filled with old magazines and newspapers that are just tossed out.

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not."
— Dr. Seuss, from The Lorax

Did You Know…?

Magazines are made out of paper that has been coated and buffed by a process called "supercalendering," in order to give a glossy appearance. The paper is covered with a white clay called "kaolin" and put under high pressure rollers. This makes the resulting shiny pages suitable for color photographs. That's a lot of processing, don't you agree?

How Long Does It Sit In Our Landfills?

A newspaper will decompose in a landfill in 25 weeks

But a magazine takes more than a YEAR to decompose! (Additional processes equal longer landfill time.)

Getting the Word Out

Many consumers are afraid to put magazines into paper bins, but the glossy paper does not contaminate paper recycling. Magazines are now accepted by all curbside recycling programs that collect paper. Find out more about your local recycling program using Earth911.

Every day, Americans buy about 62 million newspapers and throw out around 44 million of them. If we recycled just half our newsprint every year, we would need 3,200 fewer garage trucks to collect our trash.

Reusing Magazines:

The Vocal Trash crew recommends donating your old magazines to the following places:

  • Airplanes
  • Churches
  • Colleges
  • Craft Stores
  • Dentists’ Offices
  • Doctors’ Offices
  • Fitness Centers
  • Hobby Shops
  • Libraries
  • Preschools
  • Senior Centers
  • Work Break Room

Reusing Newspapers:

You can donate your newspapers to many of the same places you would donate your magazines, but Vocal Trash recommends also using your newspapers as compost.

  1. Shred the newspaper into narrow strips by hand or in a paper shredder.
  2. Spread a 10-inch layer of shredded newspaper at the bottom of your compost bin.
  3. Layer several inches of green compost material.
  4. Add half an inch of dirt.
  5. Water the layers.
  6. Repeat with additional layers if desired.

Art Projects Are A Great Way To Reuse Magazine & Newspapers!

You can also cut pictures and words out of newspapers and magazines to create art projects like greeting cards, posters and collages. When you’re done, be sure to recycle the rest of your materials in the appropriate bin! Use Earth911 to find a good place to recycle magazines and newspapers in your area.

Remember Vocal Trash says…

"THINK before you THROW IT AWAY!"


Vocal Trash Members Vocal Trash is a troupe of environmental entertainers who have been engaging audiences with their unique and exciting brand of entertainment for a decade from New York to Seattle. Whether in Madison Square Garden or the Venetian Hotel and Casino,  Vocal Trash is environmentally conscious using upcycled materials on stage. The group asks that you "THINK… before you throw it away!"

Why Are You Not Recycling This Material?

What You Can Do With Cardboard

In the United States, 90 percent of all products are packaged and shipped using cardboard, according to Earth 911; and, as Annenberg Media reports, cardboard accounts for 41 percent of all municipal waste in the United States. Only 25 percent gets recycled, which means that 75 percent of used cardboard ends up in landfills.

"Thanks to my mother, not a single cardboard box has found its way back into society. We receive gifts in boxes from stores that went out of business twenty years ago."
~ Erma Bombeck

How Long Does It Take For Cardboard To Decompose In A Landfill?

There are many factors that affect how long it takes for cardboard to decompose. It can take years if it is packed tightly in sheets with little surface area exposed to the elements, as in landfills. In a home garden, cardboard used as mulch – shredded and soaked with water – the cardboard can decompose rather quickly and be completely broken down by microorganisms within 3 months. 

How To Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle Cardboard

If you’re wondering what to do with cardboard, here are a few great ideas…

  • Mulch! As mentioned, you can recycle your cardboard in your own backyard garden. According to Cornell University’s Department of Horticulture, “Cardboard and newspaper (several sheets thick) are effective mulches around vegetables or flowers, used to block weeds and retain soil moisture.” They add that the paper also blocks light, preventing weeds longer than traditional mulches, and also decreases the amount of other mulches needed. They add, “There is the benefit of reusing paper products, which reduces costs and the need for their disposal in overcrowded landfills.”
     
  • Make crafts! Disney’s Family Fun site shows you how to make everything from racecars, mazes and puppet stages to seats, art galleries and dragon costumes out of cardboard! There are countless fun ways to reuse cardboard in your creative endeavors.
     
  • Pet Toys! Animals like rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, mice and rats are easily entertained with boxes to chew. These products are not harmful for animals to shred. If you have cats, you can turn long cardboard tubes into cat teasers or mice toys using these instructions.

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  • Breakdance on it! Yes, it’s true – you can recycle cardboard by using it as a practice space for your dance moves. Check out the Vocal Trash crew’s breakdancing skills in this video!

Why Recycle Cardboard?

Sure, trees may be a renewable resource because we can always plant more, but the decomposition of cardboard releases methane – a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Also, the cutting down of trees destroys ecosystems, where birds, squirrels, and other animals live. Furthermore, processing the pulp and creating boxes consumes energy and releases emissions into the atmosphere.

For all these reasons, we need to reduce, reuse, recycle – and…

THINK… before we THROW IT AWAY!”


Vocal Trash Members Vocal Trash is a troupe of environmental entertainers who have been engaging audiences with their unique and exciting brand of entertainment for a decade from New York to Seattle. Whether in Madison Square Garden or the Venetian Hotel and Casino,  Vocal Trash is environmentally conscious using upcycled materials on stage. The group asks that you "THINK… before you throw it away!"