Storing Your Recyclables: Gaylords vs Plastic Bins


You need a simple, reliable solution for recyclable storage, whether your materials are graded or single-stream, compacted or baled. Gaylord boxes and plastic bins are the most common solutions for recyclable storage; so how do you know which one is right for you?  Each has advantages and disadvantages; ultimately it comes down to available space. 

Gaylord Boxes

gaylord-box-bundle_300x206Advantages of gaylord boxes:

  • Gaylord boxes fold flat to save space. One pallet holds 25 boxes folded. Two pallets holds all the gaylords you need to fill a trailer.
  • They are relatively inexpensive; $3.00 to $7.00 each
  • They are lightweight.
  • They are recyclable.

What about the drawbacks? First of all, this is not the most "neat and clean" storage solution. Gaylords get dirty and torn and break after several uses. Expect to use each one between 3 and 7 times before they have to be replaced.

Another consideration: these boxes don't have forklift slots, so each one has to be placed on on a pallet.

One-Piece Plastic Tubs

One-piece plastic tubs, or plastic gaylord bins, are another good way to store recyclables. 

plasticGaylordPlastic tubs have several advantages over gaylord boxes: they're very neat and clean looking, last a long time, and have a built in forklift slot. 

These bins are stackable but are also fairly heavy; it's a bit of an ordeal to pull one out of another. The empty bins take up significantly more room than folded gaylords: if you stack them 2 high, you're taking up 25' x 9' feet in your facility; if you stack them 3 high you're looking at 16' x 9' of space. (We don't recommend stacking them 4 high; it's not safe.)

Plastic bins cost significantly more than gaylord boxes as an initial investment. In the long run, though, they are a more cost-effective solution. 

Collapsible Plastic Tubs

There's a third type of storage that we never recommend: collapsable plastic tubs. In theory, they combine the advantages of both gaylords and plastic tubs. But in practice, they break easily, and we run into constant issues with the latches and hinges. 

So what's the best solution for you? It really depends on space. If it's at a premium, gaylords are your best option. If you have enough space and like a more tidy look, then the 1-piece plastic bins are for you. 

Did you know you should never let your recycler supply and finance your equipment? Find out why, along with other tricks designed to save you money, in our free report, "7 Proven Ways to Increase Recycling Revenue."

7 Proven Ways to Increase Recycling Revenue