Glut of cardboard boxes hit the curb after Christmas

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Today kicks off what could be the biggest flurry of cardboard box recycling of the season as people open and discard all those shipments from Amazon and other retailers who offer fast and free home delivery.

We followed a Green Team recycling truck in San Jose, and bins were filled with boxes marked with Amazon Prime tape. There were discarded shoe boxes and even broken down boxes that once held furniture and big screen TV's.

We're talking about millions upon millions of cardboard boxes. It's estimated that shoppers purchased 140 million items online between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

San Jose resident Jim Bennett says he routinely saved Amazon boxes for shipping things throughout the year, but with the growth in home deliveries, he's accumulating more boxes than he can possibly use. So, they're going in his recycle bin.

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Outside one home on Moorpark Avenue sat a large box that once contained a new computer desk. However, the recycle crews will not pick it up unless it's broken down and can fit inside a recycle bin. That's because the crews can no longer toss the large boxes into the truck. Even if left at the curb next to the recycle bin, they have to place the smaller pieces into the bin so the mechanical arm can lift the bin and dump the contents into the truck.

Paper packing materials can also be recycled, but San Jose does not recycle bubble wrap.

Amazon and other retailers also participate in an innovative way to recycle cardboard boxes. Give Back Box arranges for shoppers to fill their empty shipping cartons with donated goods. Shipment is free, and the label can be printed from the website. Last year, Give Back Box's CEO says 100,000 boxes were returned with donations. That number is expected to be even larger this year as people learn about the program and recognize the benefit of recycling both the cardboard and donated goods.
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