Christmas outside the box: A plea to recycle cardboard

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I live on Kodiak Island, in the NW corner of the Gulf of Alaska. It’s a piece of heaven. Bears, northern lights, puffins, fishing boats–all great stuff to photograph.
Most of our goods, from bananas to Bandaids, arrives twice weekly in containers stacked on ships and barges towed by stocky, oceangoing tugs. Inside those containers are boxes, cardboard boxes, hundreds, thousands of them. It’s a problem. They’re choking our landfill and that’s a crime.

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Please use this poster to encourage your community to recycle more cardboard.

During the holidays it strikes me how everything seems to come in a box. Do you ever get that feeling while standing in line at the store or on Christmas morning? This year, a handful of us decided to do something about it. Why? Because Kodiak, like every other city in the U.S. produces more garbage during December than any other month of the year. And cardboard is not only valuable, it’s recyclable.

Forgive me. Maybe you already know all that. Maybe you live in a town where recycling aluminum, paper, glass, food waste, cardboard is not optional. Consider yourself blessed. Kodiak hasn’t matured to that point. Yet.

So we chose cardboard, the low-hanging fruit of recyclable materials, and started a Christmas Cardboard Campaign. Working with our local government, the Kodiak Island Borough, we typed up classified ads for our local newspaper, the Kodiak Daily Mirror, and recorded public service announcements for our local radio stations, KMXT-100.1 FM and KVOK-AM 560. Public Relations 101 stuff.
We also designed a simple poster. No preaching. Just a plea. We offer this poster to anyone who needs help lighting a fire under their community’s butt.

Print it. Share it. Post it. Pass it on.

Maybe by recycling more cardboard, together we can spread holiday cheer that lasts all year.


  • Kathy Reese
    December 13, 2013 at 4:56 AM

    Since you are into gardening, these flattened boxes make great material for raised beds. 4 layers on the bottom, then layer between organic material and then you only need about 6 inches of soil on the top. Or check into Keyhole gardens. Very good way to use them and get some soil building going at the same time.

  • Rich Monroe
    December 13, 2013 at 4:13 AM

    Happy Holidays, Marion. Fortunately, our SF Bay Area communities have fully embraced the concept with weekly curbside recycling pickup. It’s convenient and a great feeling to move 80 percent of disposable items from the landfill to the recycle container. Our weekly garbage is now 3-5 gallons, down from 35 gallons. Also, the BYOB (bring your own cloth bag) program has reduced plastic and paper bags. Then there’s the paperless computer subscriptions for email, magazines, and newspapers. It’s a start… Good luck!

    • marionowen
      December 20, 2013 at 7:59 AM

      Ah, thank you Rich. One step at a time, eh? Some communities just mature differently than others. Merry Christmas to you, too. Cheers!


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