How can I reuse or recycle breakfast cereal boxes?

Cereal boxesJohn and I are breakfast cereal-fanatics at the moment and are munching our way through box after box of pre-sweetened, chocolate-flavour flavoured puffed nonsense (me) and dull, wholewheat goodness (him).

Most of our favourite cereals come in plastic bags within glossy-printed cardboard boxes so we’re left with a lot of rubbish at the end of each pack.

When I was small, cereal boxes were regularly harvested for their card but I don’t do as much cutting and sticking for fun now – and when I do need some non-corrugated card, cat food boxes tend to be sturdier (if slightly smelling of fish and ash).

As with most paper products, they will compost down but some people worry about the full colour printed designs – some inks are toxic and will leech chemicals into the compost.

Any reusing or recycling for the card sides or the boxes as a whole?

Best Suggestions

  • Reduce: Reduce the amount of boxes you generate by minimising cereal waste – reseal the bag & box every time you use it, or transfer the contents to an airtight container from the get-go.
  • Reuse – practical: Cut off the top and one corner to make files for magazines/paperwork.
  • Reuse – crafts: Use the card for stencils or making fun business cards/postcards (some printers allow you to print onto card, or you can get postcard-template rubber stamps and custom stamps for your details).
  • Recycle: Many councils accept thin card as part of their kerbside recycling or at community waste recycling facilities.
  • See the comments below for more suggestions and ideas

(Photo by simbncn)

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32 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle breakfast cereal boxes?”

  1. Some cereal boxes have Box-Tops on them, which are basically like $0.10-$0.30 coupons that you can donate to schools who have that program running. Check the tops of the boxes for Box-Tops, cut them out, and give them to schools that run that program.

  2. Sharon Sugrue says:

    If you have a home compost bin, card is a good addition (ripped and scrunched). Check out composting websites that advise this. Other ways are local recycling centres that accept card?

  3. Vanessa says:

    Cut a diagonal peice from the side and use to store magazines. Cut into rectangles and use as bookmarks. (Decorate for a nice gift for bookworms.)

  4. dotjay says:

    Some primary schools, playgroups, etc. collect cardboard boxes and tubes for creative ‘Blue Peter’ moments.

  5. Aspen says:

    Theyre great for making stencils!

  6. abby jenkins says:

    I get my business cards printed on old cereal boxes, and as a prop stylist working on mostly food shows it is perfect! You can check out the guy who makes them at We are also planning on making “save the date” postcards out of them for our wedding, using stickers with address.

  7. Dawn Collins says:

    no need to scrunch up for the compost bin, put your veg peelings in box & place straight in bin. I have also used them as luggage labels.

  8. Gulia says:

    Place them around the plants instead of black paper, then cover with mulch.

  9. You can turn them into postcards!
    My sister last summer challenged me to think of an eco-post card.

    So I used the beer box cardboard from the local corsican beer that we were buying!

  10. Robert Woodcroft says:

    I cut them up and use as postcards for my competitions. I also purchased a rubber stamp that looks like a postcard so stamp the cards and they look great

  11. brianna says:

    cut off the big sides and use them as a cool notebook cover

  12. kate spade says:

    You can yous it to hold wires

  13. britney says:

    cut off the top and make a purse

  14. britney says:

    cut off the top and make a purse.

    • addy says:

      i love this idea! while we were on vacation, my dad’s girlfriend’s 2 year old son kept on asking me if he could have my purse so i would let him hold it and the only way to get him to give it back was to tell him that when we got home i would give him his very own purse! i usually just gave him a grocery bag and he would be entertained but this is brilliant!

  15. xojazz371 says:

    Store and transport cupcakes or other baked goods

  16. xojazz371 says:

    Cut up into bookmarks.

  17. Victor Scott says:

    Cardboard Box guitars Laura!

  18. Olia says:

    Cut, roll and stuff inside the winter boots to keep them straight.

  19. Olia says:

    Gray surface makes a nice sketching paper.

  20. Olia says:

    Spread and use for dirty jobs to protect table or floor.

  21. Olia says:

    Cut out patterns for sewing. They will last.

  22. Rebecca says:

    Turn them into custom CD or DVD packaging like this:

    You could print your own artwork onto each CD/DVD case or use the print of the box itself which is often colourful and creative!


  23. cheryl says:

    make paper dolls and then make clothes out of some recycled paper, like potato chip bags or anything.
    sewing cards.

  24. Victoria says:

    Cut out of them rectangular pieces- great for an artist to draw with chock or pastels. It is great because brown color serves as medium tone, and it is easy to add darker and lighter colors.

  25. Uluska says:

    Box can hold lunch or snack taken to a car.

  26. Uluska says:

    Cut circles on one side and store Christmas ornaments or eggs.

  27. supergeeky says:

    I used to be a teacher and what I did was tape all the ends of the box and give them to the kids to play with like pretend food. Or cover them in contact paper and they can use them as blocks to build things with. Works for all food boxes. Also use it as craft “paper”.


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