10 creative ways to re-use and recycle a humble cardboard box

Corrugated cardboard is such a versatile packaging material, millions of tons are used each year to protect and display products. Cardboard boxes are part of our visual vernacular — trash to shopkeepers, treasure to eBay sellers, an annoyance to blade-wielding stock boys and girls around the world.

cardboard-boxBefore you throw cardboard boxes away, here are 10 things you can turn them into together for play, learning and art activities at home or in the classroom.

Creative Uses for Corrugated Cardboard Box

Recycling bin: I’ve always found it strange that we spend money buying containers to sort recyclables. Grab a big cardboard box, label appropriately, and truly go green.

Signs: Having a yard sale or estate sale? Does your industrious child need some serious lemonade stand marketing? Cardboard boxes can become signage with just a few easy snips.

Shipping: Probably the most obvious recycled use is the cardboard box’s primary use — packing and shipping. I use 430x305x140mm Mailing Box Cardboard Carton I get for free at the grocery store and local dollar store to ship items sell on eBay, which helps keep my overhead low.

Fort building: Stack boxes of various sizes and shapes to make a fort with your kids. Let them knock it down, repeat.

Packing and moving: Larger boxes from warehouse stores, supermarkets, or the office are perfect for packing and moving. Moving is expensive enough — why not save a few bucks and get the boxes for free.

Income method: eBay, storage facilities, on-demand container moving, and a society in transition have all conspired to make selling recycled packing, shipping, and moving supplies a new cottage industry.

Gift-giving: Splurge more on the gift by getting the box for free. Whether you’re shipping the item or giving it in-person, recycled boxes make any gift more wallet-wise and eco-friendly.

Pet bed: A low-sided or shallow box makes a perfect pet bed. It may seem down-market, but with an old pillow and soft blanket, Spot won’t complain. Involve the whole family in decorating it with pet-safe items and non-toxic paint.

Puppet stage: Get creative with your kids on a lazy winter Sunday. Create a puppet stage from a repurposed box and decorate the backdrop with wallpaper scraps, gift-wrap, or paint.

Floor protectors and furniture movers: Cardboard is a perfect hardwood floor protector. Cut out discs that fit under your couch and chair legs to prevent scrapes and scratches. Moving large pieces on carpet can be made easier by placing cardboard under heavier pieces and sliding instead of pulling.

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