4 Types of Industrial Waste For Manufacturing Operations

Industrial waste is a by-product generated through manufacturing processes. The waste or scrap material is rendered useless for production, however, it can be harmful to the environment if not disposed of appropriately.

Sustainable waste disposal companies are a popular option for manufacturers to manage industrial waste and comply with state and federal laws and regulations.

There are many ways to make the most of your waste through industrial recycling.

Importantly, an organization needs to know about the different types of waste in industrial waste and recycling management.

In this article, we’ll share some of the most common types of industrial waste that are generated by manufacturing and industrial operations.

4 Main Categories of Industrial Waste

Old Corrugated Cardboard (OCC)

Cardboard is one of the most common by-products of any business. Whether you’re a retail business or an institution, commercial cardboard recycling is an activity that any company needs to do.

Common cardboard industrial waste disposal extends to corrugated cardboard, cardboard from distribution centers, and manufacturing centers, as well as simple cardboard boxes and cores.

Post Industrial Plastic

Industrial plastic is also a common production by-product in the United States. Unsurprisingly, packaging materials, and drinking water containers can produce waste management issues for a business.

In 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, reported that the U.S. produced 262 million tons of waste, with 13% of that waste being plastic.

Common industrial plastic grades include: 

  • PETE or PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)
  • HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)
  • PP (Polypropylene)
  • PS (Polystyrene)
  • Nylon
  • Reground and Reprocessed
  • Contaminated and uncontaminated
  • Acrylic
  • Plastic with various levels of impurities

Standard waste disposal methods for collecting industrial plastic can include: 

  • baled in a vertical downstroke baler
  • loose plastic purge
  • open tops
  • baled in gaylords
  • loaded in compacters
  • loose in gaylord boxes
  • densified material
  • loose in open tops
  • partial truckload quantities
  • full truckload quantities

All in all, because of the significant environmental consequences, it’s in a business’s best interest to use a waste management service to remove and recycle plastic waste.

Post Production Metals

A commercial manufacturer can produce large quantities of scrap metal that should be recycled.

Industrial metal recycling is categorized by ferrous metals and non-ferrous metals.

Ferrous metals contain iron, such as mixed sheet iron, steel (both alloy and carbon), and busheling. Non-ferrous metals do not contain iron and are made up of elements like aluminum, copper, lead, zinc, and tin.

Make the most of your industrial activity manufacturing and recycle metals like iron and steel to maximize your waste streams and internal resources.

Post Industrial Polyurethane Foam

Industrial foam is a particularly valuable waste.

Polyurethane flexible foam, used in mattresses and in packaging, is major type of foam produced by industrial companies.

The on-site industrial process of collecting foam typically involves the use of a vertical downstroke baler and van trailer. These types of industrial recycling equipment are critical to ensure efficient transportation and that material is recycled efficiently. In addition, they follow waste disposal guidelines and federal regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency

Partner with Industrial Waste Experts to Manage Your Manufacturing Operations

These are the most common types of industrial waste in manufacturing. However, other categories exist in many other operations. There is a very wide range of materials of metals, plastics, paper and foam that are recyclable. Municipal solid waste, chemical waste, toxic waste, raw materials, and food waste are other types of waste that companies must deal with responsibly.

All in all, these types of industrial wastes should always be reduced with the proper waste minimization strategy.

In the meantime, our strongest recommendation would be to contact an experienced industrial recycling company, like Generated Materials Recovery, to learn more about how your organization can dispose of non-hazardous industrial waste and approach hazardous waste disposal.

GMR offers various services for manufacturing and industrial recycling needs. Unlike other waste management companies, we at GMR specialize in M&I waste solutions.

Additionally, we know that recycling isn’t the core of your business. Thus, our waste management processes focus on providing secure, reliable, and efficient solutions for your company. We care about your company, your success is our success too!

To learn more about non-hazardous waste collection, contact us today by filling out our contact form at the bottom of our homepage. 

You can also call us at (602) 353 9411. We are excited to help you find that creative recycling solution you’ve been searching for.


Share this article
metal recycling phoenix
Commercial & Industrial Metal Recycling

Premier Metal Recycling in Phoenix, AZ

Metal recycling in Phoenix is a vital business activity with plenty of financial and environmental benefits. Use this guide to pick the best recycling partner.

styrofoam disposal
Recycling Tips

Styrofoam Disposal, Recycling & Clean Up

Proper commercial styrofoam disposal is a tricky process, that can supplement your bottom line or detract from it — here are all the insights and tips you need.

How Can We Help You?

Fill out our contact form to schedule a time to talk with us about how GMR can help your company to increase recycling revenue, achieve sustainability goals, and meet efficiency targets.


Corporate Office and Materials Processing Center
3444 N. 27th Ave. Phoenix, Arizona 85017
(602) 353-9411


Sales & General Information


Dispatch (current clients only)