Corrugated Cardboard Recycling: What You Should Know

Cardboard is used in all sorts of packaging, holding anything from a brand new television set to produce and other food products. Corrugated cardboard is a type of cardboard with a layer of fiber that zigzags between the brown sheets. It is tougher and sturdier than regular cardboard and is as a result highly sought after.

New cardboard, corrugated or otherwise, takes up a lot of water and energy to create, eating up resources that can better be used elsewhere. Likewise, throwing away already used cardboard, whether it’s withered or recently used, is also harmful as it spurs the demand to produce additional new material.

Corrugated cardboard recycling is a facet that many are familiar with, but different cardboard products like cardboard cores require different ways to recycle. Read on to learn more about the process and why it’s beneficial.

Things You Should Know About Corrugated Cardboard Recycling

Recycling corrugated cardboard isn’t too complicated of a process and it’s relatively simple to do. Many waste management companies offer a variety of services to recycle old cardboard products to ensure that they do not end up in a landfill. However, there are a few things you should know about corrugated cardboard recycling before you find a solution for your company..

Handling Methods

Businesses typically hire recycling companies to pick up and ship the material. It may not seem like it, but it can be dangerous transporting corrugated cardboard due to harmful contaminants. In order to avoid problems with transportation, you should remove anything from the boxes and make sure they are opened and flattened to better utilize the space during transportation.

One way companies are able to assist in recycling old cardboard is to bale it. Since industrial manufacturing facilities have excess material, one tool they can benefit from is a baler. Balers allow you to compress cardboard into dense packages, ensuring lower cost transportation and allowing you to reduce the space they take up in your facility.

There are recycling companies that have balers available for sale, or you can find a recycling company like Generated Materials Recovery that will place and rent the equipment at your facility as part of your contract.

How Corrugated Cardboard Recycling Works

There’s a process that goes into corrugated cardboard recycling depending on how it is recycled.

For cardboard, corrugated or otherwise, that is sent to a landfill:

  • Cardboard is diverted from the waste stream
  • Contaminants are eliminated if it was thrown in the trash
  • The cardboard is then flattened and or compressed into bales
  • It is shipped to a pulper and paper mill It is then processed to make new cardboard boxes or paper

For companies that recycle cardboard and contract out the pick up, this process is made easier:

  • Cardboard is separated from the products that it came with
  • It is then broken down and sorted to remove contaminants like plastic and labels
  • The material is compressed into bales
  • Then it is sent from the recycling facility to a paper mill
  • From there it’s processed to make new paper or cardboard products

One of the newer methods is shredding in combination with compacting or baling so as to increase the density of the material. Advancements in technology have also allowed companies to create corrugated cardboard using lighter materials, which ultimately reduces waste.

What are the Benefits?

Corrugated cardboard recycling is beneficial to everyone for a number of reasons. Recycling old corrugated cardboard reduces water usage along with greenhouse gas emissions. This is because new boxes and containers can be made from the recycled material instead of being made from new materials.

Recycling also reduces virgin timber demand, which is timber taken from an uncultivated forest. To make one tone of cardboard, it takes about three tons of virgin timber; recycling reduces this demand, saving nine cubic yards of landfill space for every ton that’s recycled.

Corrugated cardboard recycling is an in-depth process that helps everyone. For more information on corrugated cardboard recycling, contact Generated Materials Recovery and find the right recycling program for you.


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