As a business owner or manager, it’s important to know the contents of your waste stream. This is especially true if you produce a high volume of recyclable waste. Recycled commodities have value. Throwing them away in your dumpster is like setting money on fire. One recycled commodity most businesses produce a lot of is cardboard. Diverting cardboard from your waste stream is an important part of a successful recycling program. When it comes to handling cardboard waste, there’s no better equipment than a cardboard baler. A cardboard baler machine works by compacting cardboard into bales to reduce volume, allowing for convenient storage and easy transportation. They even provide an extra bonus as a revenue generator when you consider that baled cardboard is a commodity that recyclers pay for. So, is baling cardboard worth it for your business? In order to answer this, you need to evaluate:
- Your volume of cardboard waste
- Your infrastructure
- The price of cardboard
- Your regional network of recyclers
What volume of cardboard waste should I be producing before considering a cardboard baler?
About 20 loose cubic yards of cardboard per week is the volume around where you’ll want to explore using a baler. Anything less than that might not justify the cost. This is because recyclers pay for bales by size and weight. To ensure you get paid for your cardboard, there needs to be a high enough volume to produce a “Mill Size Bale”. Some recyclers pay for smaller bales, but it’s less common.
What infrastructure do I need in place for baling cardboard?
A standard “Mill Size” cardboard bale is about 60″ wide x 30″ long x 42″ tall and 800-1,200 pounds. You’ll need to have ample space to store these bales and the equipment necessary to move and stack them, such as a pallet jack or a forklift. You’ll also want to consider the fitness of your workforce. Cardboard bales are heavy and moving them requires some level of upper-body strength. You don’t need to be The Rock to operate a cardboard baler, but whoever does should be somewhat physically fit.
What is cardboard worth right now?
According to Recycling.com, the price of cardboard has fluctuated between $20/ton to $210/ton over the last 5 years (2018-2022). There are several sources for checking the current prices for cardboard. A popular source is Recycling Markets, which is a website that provides up-to-date prices for various recycled commodities including cardboard. You are required to sign up for an account to access the prices, but they do have a free trial option available.
Like with any commodity, prices will fluctuate, but as long as cardboard is synonymous with packaging, there will pretty much always be some level of demand for this material. Most packages we ship today use cardboard. Its massive role in modern-day logistics requires a high volume of it to be produced. Most cardboard in circulation is actually produced through recycling. Producing new cardboard through recycled materials requires less energy than manufacturing it from new pulp. New cardboard production being heavily dependent on recycling creates a fairly consistent market for recycled cardboard.
Will recyclers in my area pay for my baled cardboard?
Ultimately, what’s most important is that there is a recycler available in your area to service your business and pay you money for your cardboard. At FleetGenius Compactor Solutions, we have connections to a vast network of recyclers. Having trouble finding one for your cardboard waste? Ask us if we know any that we can put you in contact with.
Even when the market is slightly down, if you produce a high volume of un-contaminated cardboard, have the necessary infrastructure in place, and know of a recycler who will pay for your material, then baling your cardboard is almost certainly “worth it”. It’s the most effective solution for handling cardboard waste and a “must-have” for businesses that strive to have a top-class recycling program. In need of a cardboard baler solution for managing your cardboard waste? You’ve come to the right place. Our knowledgeable sales staff can help you determine the best equipment for your needs.