Can You Recycle TV Boxes? All the Facts (+5 Creative Ideas)

Savanna Stanfield

We all have our favorite TV shows, sports teams, and guilty pleasure movies that we love to watch.

And what’s more exciting than getting a new TV with a larger screen and higher resolution to watch them on?

It’s a good idea to keep that TV box for a week or two to make sure the TV is working properly – just in case you need to return it if it isn’t.

But once everything is up and running, what should you do with the box? Can you recycle TV boxes, or should you just throw them away?

As it turns out, most TV boxes are recyclable as long as they meet your city’s criteria for recycling cardboard.

In this article, we’ll share everything you need to know about recycling that big TV box.

Are All TV Boxes Recyclable?

Most TV boxes are quite large and come with different colors or printed designs on them. 

They have to be made of thick and durable cardboard in order to accommodate the size and weight of the TV.

The size, color, and general appearance of TV boxes may lead some people to believe that they can’t be recycled.

But TV boxes are actually made out of the same cardboard as a lot of other boxes used for packing and shipping.

This type of cardboard is made up of multiple layers and is known as corrugated cardboard.

Corrugated cardboard is actually the most recycled. Almost 81 percent of all recycled cardboard is corrugated and it can be recycled by most facilities regardless of color, shape, or size.

That means that if you need to dispose of your TV box, you can recycle it instead of throwing it away.

How Can I Check Whether My TV Box Is Recyclable?

The best way to tell whether or not your cardboard TV box is recyclable is to look for a recycling symbol on the bottom of the box. 

For cardboard, that label will most often be the Mobius Loop symbol (the three arrows in a triangle shape that we usually associate with recycling).

Or, it could have the logo for the Forest Stewardship Council on the bottom that indicates FSC certified products.

But you should note that these labels don’t automatically mean that a product can be recycled – in this case, your TV box.

There are some instances where corrugated cardboard products may not be accepted by your local recycling facility. It just depends on what that particular facility is capable of handling. 

You should also note that the lack of a recycling symbol on a TV box doesn’t mean that it isn’t recyclable.

Most corrugated cardboard can be recycled as long as the requirements for recycling the cardboard are met.

If you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to check with your local recycling facility before you try to recycle something.

Do All Cities Accept TV Boxes For Recycling?

As long as your city accepts corrugated cardboard for recycling, then they should accept TV boxes. 

This is especially true in bigger cities with well-established and well-funded recycling programs.

However, it is possible that newly-established recycling programs may not accept all types of recyclable materials at first.

Though when recycling cardboard, it is your job to make sure that you properly prepare the cardboard for recycling.

That means making sure that the TV box is clean, dry, not too large,  and has all other packing materials removed from it that aren’t cardboard.

If you don’t properly prepare a cardboard TV box for recycling, then the recycling center may not accept it. 

Does the Size Of the TV Box Matter?

Since most TV boxes are very large, the size of them does matter. Cardboard boxes that are too large may not be able to be processed through the recycling machines.

Cardboard boxes that are too large can jam the machines and cause them to break, so it is a good idea to make the TV box smaller if it is large. 

Besides, if your city offers curbside recycling pickup then you’ll want the box to fit into your recycling bin.

A good rule of thumb is that if the cardboard is too big for your recycling bin then it might be too big for the recycling facility.

Finding a way to make a TV box fit into your recycling bin is a great way to make sure that it is small enough to be recycled without breaking the machines.

Do I Have to Crush, Fold Or Cut the TV Box?

If you have a large TV box that won’t fit into a recycling bin, then the best thing to do is flatten or cut it.

If you simply crush it without flattening it first, it could still take up too much room in the recycling bin.

But that’s not the only reason why you should flatten or cut your cardboard. Most recycling programs have rules in place that require you to flatten cardboard for recycling.

The reason is that if no one flattened their cardboard, it would take up a large amount of space in the recycling trucks. 

That means that more trips would have to be made to pick up everyone’s recyclables, so it would cost the recycling company more money and result in higher energy use.

Flattening or cutting large cardboard such as TV boxes is not only essential for making sure that the cardboard fits into the recycling machine, but also helping to ensure that recycling remains energy-efficient and cost-effective.

How Do I Prepare the TV Box for Recycling?

You can prepare a TV box for recycling the same way that you would other cardboard.

While exact guidelines for recycling cardboard may vary by individual city, here are some general things you should do.

  1. Ensure that the cardboard is dry. If not, let it dry out first.
  1. Make sure to remove all additional packing materials from the box, including styrofoam, bubble wrap, or manuals.
  1. Stickers, labels, and small pieces of tape can be left on the box. They will be removed during recycling. But cut off any long pieces of tape that are hanging off the box and remove any plastic handles as well.
  1. Flatten the cardboard as-is, or cut along the edges where the box is held together so that it is as flat as possible. Then, fold it to make it more compact.
  1. Place the box in your recycling bin, or beside the bin if your city’s recycling rules allow it. Just make sure it isn’t going to rain before putting it outside.

What If I Can’t Recycle My TV Box? (5 Ideas)

If for some reason you are finding it difficult to recycle your TV box, there are ways to reuse it if you don’t want to throw it away.

1. Storage

If you have artwork or canvases that you want to keep but don’t want to display, store them in a large flat-screen TV box.

Storing them in a TV box is a great way to keep them from collecting dust or becoming damaged due to moisture.

2. Coasters

Cut large circles out of your TV box and use them as coasters. You can decorate the cardboard with washi tape to personalize them.

And TV boxes are so large that you can make some for your friends and family too.

3. Magazine Holders

The width of TV boxes is the perfect size to use for making magazine holders.

Again, you can use washi tape, duct tape, or even fabric to dress up the cardboard.

Then, you’ll have a stylish and upcycled way to store your favorite magazines.

4. Garland

The large size of TV boxes means that you can cut out many different shapes and letters.

Spell out holiday or birthday messages, then paint or decorate them.

You can use the garland year after year.

5. Gardening

Cut out a large piece of cardboard and use it as a mat to kneel on when you garden.

Or, tape pieces together and line them with plastic, coir, or moss, to make a lining. Then, add your plants of choice.

Wet cardboard can also help to keep termites out of mulch or other wooded areas of your garden. They will be attracted to the cardboard instead.

Are There Alternative Ways to Dispose of a TV Box?

Recycling or finding a way to reuse a TV box is the best way to keep it from unnecessarily taking up room in your house. 

They are also more eco-friendly than sending it to a landfill. But if either of those isn’t an option, you can throw it away.

Yes, it will go to a landfill. But since cardboard is biodegradable, it won’t stay there forever.

Do I Need To Keep the TV Box for Warranty?

It ultimately depends on where you bought the TV from.

While some retailers may require the box if you need to return it under warranty, most places do not require you to keep the box in order for the warranty to be honored.

They can get all of the information they need from the TV itself, as most electronics will have the serial number, model number, and other information somewhere on the TV.

You can always keep the box until after the warranty runs out just to be safe.

But once it does expire, there is really no need to keep the box. Just be sure to remove any manuals and other equipment before disposing of the box.

Conclusion 

Some cardboard TV boxes may have symbols on them that indicate that they are recyclable. But a lack of symbols doesn’t mean they aren’t recyclable. 

TV boxes are usually made from corrugated cardboard, which can be recycled by most facilities and is actually the most recycled type of cardboard.

As long as you properly prepare the cardboard for recycling – including cutting and flattening it – then you should be able to recycle a TV box without a problem.

If you can’t recycle it for some reason, there are plenty of creative ways to reuse it as well.

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