Cardboard is the most common packaging material in the US and the world over. Moreover, it’s a material that’s very commonly recycled. That being said, cardboard waste can cause big logistical headaches. Given how most raw materials and finished products are packed in cardboard boxes, it doesn’t take much time to pile up in an industrial setting. While local recycling facilities may be happy to take these off your hand, the returns on these would barely do anything to cut your costs.
That’s where Waste Control comes in. Our work is all about how managing your waste in the most optimal possible manner. While cardboard waste in its current form or after being baled will find local buyers, we help our clients sell these at a premium, helping them cut costs.
Here’s how we approach baled cardboard and cardboard recycling programs to get value out of your cardboard waste.
Knowing Cardboard Waste More Closely
Cardboard and paper make up the majority of the materials that are usually recycled. According to EPA, cardboard and paper accounted for almost 67% of the recycled materials in 2018.
Cardboard waste is mostly of two types – Corrugated cardboard sheets and box boards.
- Corrugated cardboard is usually used for packaging heavy materials for shipping. This is the heavy-duty form of cardboard that’s found commonly. Old Corrugated Cardboard(OCC) is a popular waste commodity that you can find buyers for.
- Paperboards: paperboards are the thinner and the more flexible type of cardboards that are used for cereal boxes or shoe boxes. This type of cardboard is not accepted in all local recycling centers.
Depending on the quantity of the cardboard waste you have and the quality of it, this can certainly be recycled. In terms of municipal waste, OCC and paperboard are one of the most common materials that end up in landfills, and at the same time can be recycled easily too.
Cardboard recycling can utilize tons of cardboard waste and result in paper and paper products. This is a very environment-friendly approach that helps you in your sustainability goals too and saves on waste disposal costs.
How to generate value out of your cardboard waste
Cardboard waste is an easily available by-product from your manufacturing process and can be a good source of income which can help offset your recycling costs. Waste Control works with large-scale resellers and recycling companies to ensure that you get good value out of the cardboard waste you produce. Here’s how to approach cardboard waste the right way
Identify Cardboard Waste Sources
Cardboard waste comes from many sources in your process. Identifying these becomes the first step in the process. Look at the various kinds of packaging material you are dealing with and understand what parts of the processes are creating cardboard waste.
Once you know which areas you need to focus on, collecting the cardboard waste in one place to further process it becomes easy. You can also use this time to assess your procurement process and see if there are ways to eliminate some of the sources of cardboard waste and if there are ways to reduce the waste as much as possible.
Collecting and Sorting Cardboard Waste
Step 2 in the process is all about collecting the waste together and making it ready for further shipping and processing. This is an important step because the quality of cardboard waste is an important factor in the rates that you can get for it.
Make sure that you have a process in place which makes sure that the cardboard waste does not get damaged and unfit for recycling. Ensuring that the cardboard boxes are grease-free and dry is important. This needs to be taken care of while collecting the boxes for disposal.
Sorting the cardboard waste into separate sets also helps. Look at the grade of the cardboard and the size of the box while segregating. This will help in the next step where you will compress and bale the cardboard boxes. Sort OCC and paperboards separately, and also identify the cardboard waste which needs to be dealt with locally.
Getting Your Employees on Board
Like any process, your employees play a big part in this whole process. They are the ones who have to ensure that the cardboard waste is being collected and sorted efficiently and there is everything done to ensure that the waste being collected is of good quality.
Training your employees on best practices and getting their buy-in before implementing the cardboard recycling process is crucial for its success. Without their help, the process will not be efficient, and you will be leaving money on the table.
Baling the Cardboard Waste
Loose cardboard boxes are a big mess. It is difficult to handle loose cardboard waste while transporting it too. Hence baling becomes important. Baling is the process where cardboard waste (Or any waste) is compressed and bound together to make a tightly wound bale.
Comercial balers do the job of baling the cardboard and binding it together. cardboard balers come as either horizontal balers or Vertical balers. They also come in various sizes allowing you to bale your cardboard waste into suitable sized bales.
Baled cardboard is much easier to handle and it can massively reduce hauling costs. Since bales are compressed and compact, it allows for more bales to be carried by the hauler.
Finding the Buyers for Your Cardboard Waste
The most important step is of course finding the right buyer for your cardboard waste. OCC is a popular commodity and most recycling services accept cardboard waste. You can also approach paper mills with proper recycling equipment that can convert the cardboard waste to new cardboard products or other paper products.
However, local markets and recycling solutions are likely to deal with only smaller quantities. Even if you do not produce thousands of cubic yards of cardboard waste, finding buyers from other geographies may be a better option.
There’s also the option to recycle the waste yourself. Many organizations are choosing to invest in paper recycling facilities within the compound to process the cardboard waste being produced in-house. This is also a good option if you have the resources and the understanding of how to do this yourself.
Waste Control works with you to find suitable resellers and buyers who can buy the bales of cardboard you are producing. These recycling facilities are often looking for cardboard waste in huge quantities, unlike smaller recycling facilities. They would also have better recycling processes that deal with cardboard waste of all types.
Dealing with cardboard waste is a global problem. Most industries in the US today depend on corrugated cardboard and paper boards for packaging and while the use of cardboard boxes is on the decline, it is unlikely that it will go out of use anytime soon.
Finding a way to deal with your cardboard waste is an important part of your waste stream management. Investing some time and research into proper ways to deal with cardboard waste will add a lot of value to your waste management process.
Cardboard is one of the most recycled products globally, and with a growing consciousness towards protecting our forests and trees, ensuring most of your cardboard waste gets recycled is a priority.
Waste Control works with clients to impact all aspects of their waste stream management, including cardboard waste. We impact all stages of your waste management process and help you reduce your waste management costs and increase your environmental impact. Talk to us today to know more.