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 the help of cardboard recycling machines. The most important part is to separate your cardboard waste from your regular trash, to prevent the cardboard from ending up on the landfill. By separating your cardboard 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 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 you can make your own void packaging material and with that save costs too.
- 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 storage. You can sell the cardboard bales to a recycling company in your area and make revenue from your cardboard waste.
More About Cardboard Recycling
- What is cardboard recycling?
- Why should you recycle cardboard?
- Cardboard recycling logo
- How does the recycling process work?
- Transport cardboard with a forklift hopper
- 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. 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 and is used for things such as cereal boxes or shoe boxes, the material is also called container board. 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 paper recycling process. Therefore, new paper fibers are added in 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 which are used in the beginning stages of the cardboard recycling process.
Why should you recycle cardboard?
You might be asking yourself “is cardboard worth recycling”? 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.
Cardboard is made of paper, which 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 that it doesn’t end up on 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 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 make new cardboard:
- The separated cardboard is transported to a cardboard recycling plant.
- Here the cardboard is pressed into large bales with a cardboard baling machines.
- The raw material is then transported to paper mills where it unbaled.
- The cardboard is then mixed with water so it turns into a grey water 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 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 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.
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 especially 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. 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 2019 the average cardboard or Old Corrugated Containers (OCC) price free delivered to local paper mills in North America was around $35.00 per short ton and in Europe around €76,00 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
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.
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/ 10 January 2020