How to Weigh Cardboard for Recycling

Though you are unlikely to become rich from recycling cardboard, you may be able to earn some additional spending money by turning in your old boxes or scraps. You may also be able to take discarded or unwanted boxes from your place of employment. Every recycling center will pay a different amount for recycled cardboard, often between 1/2 cent and 3 cents per pound. Since recycling centers usually pay by weight, it can be useful to know how much cardboard you have and how much money you will earn before making the trip.

Step 1

Discard any cardboard that is wet or is dirty, such as from food waste or oil. Contact the local cardboard recycling center to ask about their policies regarding the cardboard's state to know which of your cardboard may not be acceptable.

Step 2

Remove any non-cardboard component, such as string, plastic ties, staples, bubble wrap or packing peanuts. While other materials may be recyclable, they must be separated from the cardboard before the recycling center will accept it.

Step 3

Break down boxes by unfolding flaps and collapsing the cardboard. Unless your recycling center wants full boxes, you may also opt to cut large boxes to a smaller, more manageable size for weighing and transport.

Step 4

Stack all of your cardboard on the digital scale to obtain its weight in pounds. A normal household scale may suffice as long as you have enough cardboard to reach your scale's minimum weight.

Step 5

Find out the recycling center's rate for recycled cardboard. Most rates will be in tons. Divide the price per ton by 2000 to find price per pound. The typical price for recycled cardboard is between 1/2 cent and 3 cents per pound.

Step 6

Tell the recycling center how much cardboard you have before you bring it in. Some centers will only recycle cardboard above a minimum weight.


Recycling centers all employ different methods for weighing cardboard. For instance, some may weigh your vehicle with and without the cardboard, and find the difference between the two weights. The center's method may produce a slightly different weight than the one you found at home.

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