RECYCLE | Cardboard Recycling Manual
How to Recycle Commercial Cardboard Waste?
Does your company have lots of cardboard waste? What to do with with all this cardboard? There are multiple solutions for your old cardboard, such as recycling and reusing it as packaging material. The most important is to separate your cardboard waste from your regular trash to save the cardboard from landfill. This makes recycling of the material possible. When doing so you can also save costs on waste collection and on 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 current waste disposal costs. You can drop-off cardboard waste or schedule a pick-up of your cardboard material. For regular streams of cardboard you can also make use of containers or trash cans.
- Cardboard shredder – With a cardboard shredder or cardboard perforator you can reuse your cardboard scrap. By shredding or perforating cardboard boxes and sheets of cardboard you can make your own packaging material.
- Cardboard baler – With this machine you compress your cardboard waste into a compact bale. Cardboard is very bulky, so these machines really clear up space in your company. You can market the cardboard bales to a recycling company in your area and make revenue from your cardboard waste.
Transport cardboard with a forklift hopper
With a self dumping hopper you can store and transport cardboard waste towards a cardboard compactor. This forklift attachment can hold high volumes of cardboard plates and boxes which can then be easily transported and discharged at the cardboard baling machine. A self dump hopper for fork trucks is recommended for large industrial facilities. The operator can release the hopper and dump the cardboard waste with a pull cable or with a bumper.
A forklift hopper is perfectly balanced to tilt forward when full and roll back when it is emptied.
Weigh cardboard before selling it
It is recommended to weigh all your sorted cardboard before selling the material. With a pallet truck with scale you can weigh your cardboard on the go. For instance weigh 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. It is important to know the weight of your sorted cardboard when selling it.
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 precise than a pallet scale truck. Place the floor scale on a flat level surface for the most accurate data.
Weight * Price = Revenue
What is cardboard recycling?
Cardboard is a high quality recyclable material made of paper. Most common forms are corrugated cardboard and grey paperboard which is used for paper boxes and packaging material.
- Corrugated cardboard is made of multiple corrugated and flat layers of cardboard, this is used 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 normal paper but it is a bit thicker. This foldable paperboard is usually grey-colored and is used for cereal boxes or shoe boxes, the material is also called containerboard. It is sturdy, but can be more easy torn than corrugated cardboard.
Paperboard is made of downcycled cardboard.
Cardboard can be recycled many times. But you can’t recycle cardboard endlessly, because the paper fibers will get shorter every time due to the recycling process. Therfore, new paper fibers are added in the cardboard pulp during the recycling process to strengthen the base material before producing new cardboard.
Why recycle cardboard?
Cardboard is made of paper, which in its place is made of wood fibers. The production of 1 ton of virgin cardboard (material that doesn’t contain recycled cardboard) requires 3 tons of wood. This is why it is important to recycle cardboard waste for the production of new cardboard, because this saves a lot of trees. The recycling of cardboard is only possible when it is sorted and separated from your trash so it doesn’t end up on landfill.
Save on waste disposal, collection costs and packaging costs.
Besides this ecological advantage there is also an economical advantage of cardboard recycling. Seperating 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 clear that the recepticle is dedicated for the collection of cardboard waste only. Read more about cardboard labels over at Recycle Across America.
How does the recycling process work?
Video: How Cardboard is Recycled
This 5 minute long video shows how old cardboard is recycled to new cardboard:
- The separated cardboard is transported to a cardboard recycling plant.
- Here the cardboard is pressed into large bales with a cardboard baling press.
- The raw material is then transported to paper mills where it unbaled.
- The cardboard is mixed with water so it turns into a pulp.
- The grey pulp consists of water and cardboard. With filtering mechanisms contiminations and impurities are removed from the material.
- The clean cardboard fiber pulp is now mixed and pressed into a ‘noodle’ shape.
- The cardboard is fed to a paper making machine.
- This machine removes the water from the paper paste so the material is dried to make long paper sheets.
- The dried paper sheets are then rolled on a large spool which can way 6.5 tons.
- With these spools any kind of cardboard can be produced, such as cardboard boxes.
Find out more about the cardboard recycling process in this infographic from Earth911.com.
Which types of cardboard can you recycle?
Most cardboard can be recycled, such as boxes, plates, tubes, fiberboard and paperboard. But contaminated cardboard with greas or oil, such as a pizzabox, can’t be recycled into high quality cardboard. Wet cardboard is not recommended for recycling, because this material can clog up sorting machines which are used in the beginning stadium of the cardboard recycling process.
Is it worth it to recycle cardboard?
Yes, it is. First and foremost because the recycling of cardboard is environmentally friendly. Cardboard is a great material to recycle because it is made of 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.
More about paper & cardboard recycling
For more information about commercial paper and cardboard recycling you can visit the selected authoritative resources below.
Cardboard recycling prices
In 2018 the average cardboard or Old Corrugated Containers (OCC) price free delivered to local paper mills in North America was around $70.00 per short ton and in Europe around €95,00 per metric ton.
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
Monthly European Cardboard Recycling or Old Corrugated Containers (OCC 1.04) Price index
Direct paper mill buyers
Sell your cardboard bales directly to a paper mill which will recycle your cardboard waste into new cardboard.
Step Up: Recycle, Reuse & Reduce
The three arrows of the recycling symbol represent the three main stages of the recycling process: recycling, reusing and reducing. Together the arrows form a closed loop. Step up and implement eco-friendly replacements in your daily life.
By Recycling.com/ 8 January 2019