Asked by: Eddie Cullen, Lothersdale
Cereal boxes are made from paperboard, and, save for inks and glue, the entirety of a recycled box can be reused. Many cereal boxes are already made from recycled paper. At a recycling plant, paperboard is mixed with water and broken down into pulp, then washed and filtered to remove inks, coatings and other contaminants.
Each time paper is recycled, the mechanical action involved weakens its fibres – after six cycles they are usually too worn out to reuse. A recycled cereal box might be used for cardboard packaging again, or could begin a new life as soundproofing material, insulation or pet bedding.
Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.