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Be Connected: 'Upcyle' your extra cardboard boxes this holiday season

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Human Resources

If you’re staying home, having groceries delivered, or simply indulging in a little extra online shopping these days, chances are you have plenty of extra cardboard boxes around your house these days. We have some creative ideas for how you can give them new life. 

The City will dispose of 240,000 tons of waste this year, of which 40,000 will be recycled. About 10 percent of recycled content will be cardboard, and we know a lot of cardboard is put in the trash instead. So if you’re inundated with cardboard this holiday season, you’re not alone — but that’s why it’s so important to dispose of it properly. 

The Public Works Department provides guidance for proper recycling of cardboard and other waste materials (available in 11 languages). But recycling isn’t the only option in every case. Reusing is also great for the environment, and for your wallet. If you’re looking to repurpose all those cardboard boxes piling up in your home, you’re in luck — you can make great use out of your spare cardboard and keep yourself and your family entertained with these easy cardboard crafts.

So without further ado, let’s get creative with those boxes!


MAKE BEAUTIFUL ART WITH CARDBOARD STENCILS

The simple use of paint and a stencil can turn anyone into an artist, and bring new life to any old object. Stencils are incredibly easy to make yourself, and cardboard is a perfect base material for your homemade stencils. It's much sturdier and will be easier to work with since it doesn't easily tear. As an added bonus, you'll be able to use it over and over again.

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All that you need is a template, some cardboard, and an Exact-O knife. Free Stencil Gallery has hundreds of printable templates in categories like animals, holidays like Christmas and Valentine's Day, movies and TV, people, and music. Or, if you’re feeling especially creative, Rapid Resizer lets you turn any image you want into a stencil. To get started, use the free picture stencil maker to upload a photo.


MAKE SOME PRETTY (USEFUL) HOUSEHOLD ITEMS 

We all love getting Christmas cards, but if you’re running out of space on your refrigerator, you can make a DIY cardboard bulletin board using all those extra boxes you have, adding decorations and splashes of color to brighten up the room, and your day. You can also use some of that leftover cardboard to make these cute and functional storage bins, desk drawer organizers, or trinket boxes.

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While there are tons of products that you can buy that are designed to help you to get your home organized, you can reduce clutter around the home with a little creativity, and a little extra cardboard.

MAKE COOL CREATIONS THAT INSPIRE CREATIVE PLAY

Encouraging our little ones to repurpose what they already have is not only great for our planet, it also requires creative thinking to see new possibilities beyond the original purpose, helping our children become the resourceful inventors of the future

With some extra cardboard and a few other arts and crafts supplies or materials commonly found around the house, you and your children can become dinosaurs, astronauts, princes and princesses, train conductors, and more. 

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The only limit is your own imagination!


MAKE SOME HANDMADE GIFTS

Sure, they take time, energy, and effort, but that's what makes homemade gifts so special. Anyone can find a gift their loved ones will enjoy, but making one shows that you care — about them, and the environment we share. 

Got a friend with a trendy aesthetic and a black thumb? Make them a stylish DIY cactus out of cardboard. They can’t kill it, and they’ll be safe from prickers! How about the friend who loves their cat, but loves their furniture too? Here’s how to make an easy cardboard cat scratcher their furry friend will love, and your human friend will appreciate. And for the sentimental friend? A photo capturing a cherished memory, in a homemade frame, will do the trick. 

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Your loved ones (and your wallet) will be grateful.


MAKE SOME HGTV-WORTHY HOME DECOR

If you’re spending a lot more time at home than you’re used to, you may find yourself itching to redecorate. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to spruce up your living space — recycle leftover boxes and reduce the amount of waste you produce with clever home decor cardboard crafts, like a pretty geometric cardboard lamp, decorative letters, or hexagon wall-art
 

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NOT A DIY GUY OR GAL? GET RID OF YOUR CARDBOARD WASTE THE RESPONSIBLE WAY WITH ‘TRASH DAY’

The City of Boston has a Trash Day app that will help you keep track of your neighborhood’s trash and recyclable pickup days. Once you download the app, you can enter your address to customize the information provided. You’ll never forget to round up that extra cardboard and bring your recycling bins to the curb for collection again. 

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You can download the Trash Day app on Google Play or the App Store.


Looking for more ways to empower your employee experience? Visit the Be Connected page for additional employee resources, tools, and tips.

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