How to Recycle Commercial Cardboard Waste?
Does your company produce a lot of cardboard waste? What is the best thing to do with all this cardboard? There are multiple solutions, such as recycling and reusing it as packaging material, with cardboard recycling machines.
The most important part is to separate your cardboard waste from your regular trash to prevent the cardboard from ending up in the landfill. By separating your cardboard, you can also save costs on waste collection and packaging materials.
3 things you can do with cardboard waste:
- Cardboard collection – Hire a local waste collection company to collect your cardboard waste. Disposing high volumes of cardboard waste can save a lot on your waste disposal costs. You can drop-off cardboard waste or schedule a pick-up of your cardboard material.
- Cardboard shredder – With a cardboard shredder or cardboard perforator, you can reuse your cardboard scrap. By shredding or perforating cardboard boxes and sheets, you can make your void packaging material and, with that, save costs too.
- Cardboard baler – With a cardboard baler machine, you compress cardboard waste into a compact bale. Cardboard is very bulky, so these machines clear up space in your company’s storage. You can sell the cardboard bales to a recycling company in your area and make revenue from cardboard waste.
More About Cardboard Recycling
Table of contents:
- What is cardboard recycling?
- Why should you recycle cardboard?
- Cardboard recycling logo
- How does the recycling process work?
- Weigh cardboard before selling it
- Paper & cardboard recycling prices
- Mill buyers for paper & cardboard recycling
- More general information
What is cardboard recycling?
Cardboard is a high-quality recyclable material made of paper. The most common forms are corrugated cardboard and grey paperboard, used for paper boxes and packaging material.
- Corrugated cardboard is made of multiple corrugated and flat layers of cardboard. This corrugated cardboard is the material for cardboard boxes. The material is thick, durable, and strong, so perfect for packing goods for transport.
- Paperboard or fiberboard is made of recycled cardboard, it looks like regular paper, but it is a bit thicker. This foldable paperboard is usually grey and is used for cereal boxes or shoe boxes. The material is also called containerboard. It is sturdy but can be more easily torn than corrugated cardboard.
Paperboard is made of downcycled cardboard.
Recycling firms and paper mills can recycle a single cardboard fiber roughly seven times. But you can’t recycle cardboard endlessly because the paper fibers will get shorter every time due to the paper recycling process.
Therefore, new paper fibers are added to the cardboard pulp during the recycling process to strengthen the base material before producing new cardboard.
What types of cardboard can you recycle?
Most cardboard can be recycled, such as boxes, plates, tubes, fiberboard, and paperboard. But contaminated cardboard with grease or oil, such as a pizza box, can’t be recycled into high-quality cardboard.
Wet cardboard is not recommended for recycling because this material can clog up sorting machines used in the beginning stages of the cardboard recycling process.
The best type of cardboard that can be recycled is dry and clean corrugated cardboard. This material is also the most valuable, economically and ecologically.
Why should you recycle cardboard?
You might be asking yourself, “is cardboard worth recycling”? Yes, it is. First and foremost, the recycling of cardboard is environmentally friendly because it keeps the pressure off logging forests.
Cardboard is also an excellent material to recycle because of these natural wood fibers.
Besides the environmental aspect, it also saves your business money when you separate and sort cardboard waste. You can even make money from your cardboard when you use a cardboard baler or a cardboard shredder.
Cardboard is created from paper, which in turn comes from wood fibers. The production of 1 ton of virgin cardboard (material that doesn’t contain recycled cardboard) requires 3 tons of wood.
That is why it is crucial to recycle cardboard waste to produce new cardboard because this saves many trees. The recycling of cardboard is only possible when it is sorted and separated from your trash so that it doesn’t end up in the landfill.
Save money on waste disposal, collection costs and packaging costs.
Besides the ecological advantages, there are also economic advantages of cardboard recycling. Separating and sorting cardboard from your regular trash lowers your waste collection costs.
Cardboard recycling logo
There is no official cardboard recycling logo. We recommend using cardboard labels on your cardboard waste container, dumpster, or trash can. Because of this recycling label, it is visually evident that the receptacle is dedicated to collecting cardboard waste only.
Read more about cardboard labels over at Recycle Across America.
How does the recycling process work?
- The separated cardboard is transported to a cardboard recycling plant.
- Here the cardboard is pressed into large bales with cardboard baling machines.
- The raw material is then transported to paper mills, where it is unbaled.
- The cardboard is then mixed with water, so it turns into greywater and cardboard pulp.
- Then, with filtering mechanisms, contamination and impurities are removed from the material.
- The clean cardboard fiber pulp is then mixed and pressed into a ‘noodle’ shape.
- The cardboard is fed to a paper making machine.
- This machine removes the paper paste’s water, so the material is dried to make long paper sheets.
- The dried paper sheets are then rolled on a large spool, which can weigh 6.5 tons.
- With these spools, anything made of cardboard can be produced, such as cardboard boxes.
Find out more about the cardboard recycling process in this infographic from Earth911.com.
Weigh cardboard before selling it
It is recommended to weigh all your sorted cardboard before selling the material. In a pallet truck with scale you can weigh your cardboard on the go.
For example, a cardboard bale on a pallet, or weigh a self-dumping hopper filled with cardboard boxes and sheets. Pallet trucks with a scale can also be equipped with a printer to label the material.
You can also make use of a platform scale to weigh your material. With a pallet floor scale, you can place a loaded pallet on the scale and read out the weight of the material.
A platform scale can weigh more precisely than a pallet scale truck. Place the floor scale on a flat level surface for the most accurate data.
Weight * Price = Revenue
Paper & cardboard recycling prices
In 2020 the average cardboard or Old Corrugated Containers (OCC) price free delivered to local paper mills in North America was around USD 58.00 per short ton and in Europe around €65,00 per metric ton. In 2021 the price in Europe went up to €168,00 per metric ton and in North America, prices went up to USD 118.00.
Please note that market prices for cardboard will vary monthly and for actual pricing and market developments you can subscribe to different market sources. Actual pricing in your region depends on quantity, quality and distance to mills.
Monthly North American Cardboard Recycling or Old Corrugated Containers (OCC 11) Price index
- WV Solid Waste Management Board Free prices updated every half year.
- Fastmarkets RISI Subscribe for real-time OCC prices.
- Recycling Markets Subscribe for real-time OCC prices.
Monthly European Cardboard Recycling or Old Corrugated Containers (OCC 1.04) Price index
- Letsrecycle (UK / GBP) Free prices updated every month.
- Fastmarkets FOEX Subscribe for real-time OCC prices.
- EUWID Subscribe for real-time OCC prices.
Paper & cardboard recycling mill buyers
Sell your cardboard bales directly to a paper mill which will recycle your cardboard waste into new cardboard.
More general information about paper & cardboard recycling
For more information about commercial paper and cardboard recycling you can visit the selected authoritative resources below.
By Recycling.com/ 22 March 2022