How to Maximize Revenue from High-Volume OCC Commercial Recycling

By Maggie Caldwell | December 4, 2017

You're already generating significant revenue from your high-volume OCC commercial recycling program, but did you know there's room to earn more money from the same volume? In our recycling audits, we often find ways our partners can maximize revenue by making a few simple adjustments. Here is a roundup of our best tips and tricks that will help you squeeze every dollar you can from your cardboard waste:

Proper bale weights:
Produce mill-sizes bales weighing between 900 and 1100 pounds. Lower weight bales will be broken apart and rebaled before they are sent along to the paper mill, and that extra step cuts into the amount you receive for your material.


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How To Calculate the Weight of Your Recyclable Commodities

By Maggie Caldwell | January 16, 2015

Is there any value in the waste your business generates? Chances are good the answer is a definite YES. In previous blog posts, we've discussed why diverting as much weight away from your solid waste stream and into your single-stream recycling saves money on trash hauling bills. Simply put, commercial single-stream is cheaper to dispose of than solid waste because there are no tipping fees. For every ton of waste you move from the trash to the recycling stream, you save an average of $45. Take a look at your company's waste bill. How many tons do you pay to have hauled each month? You could be literally throwing money away. 

Your waste partner makes money by sorting your recyclable commodities into grades and selling them to manufacturers. But if you generate enough of any recyclable commoditity, it's cost-effective to invest in the equipment to grade and weigh them yourself. The rebate you negotiate from your waste partner is added revenue for your company. You may be surprised what you can recycle: even foam packing and shrink wrap have value in today's market. 

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Most Cost-Effective Ways to Recycle OCC and Get The Best Cardboard Prices

By Maggie Caldwell | July 28, 2014

You want the best prices for your Cardboard Recycling program. The first step in determining the most cost-effective way to handle the recycling of your old corrugated cardboard is to know the total monthly weight you're generating. The only reliable way to know that figure is to weigh and track your material yourself. If you don't already bale and weigh your own material, a simple self-audit will give you the information you need. 

How to calculate the weight of OCC you generate monthly:

  1. Count your gaylords:

    15 - 20 boxes loose OCC = 1 bale = about 1,000 pounds 
  2. Count your compactor hauls:

    If you load your material into compactors, examine your monthly hauling bill. How many full compactors do you have hauled away each month? Each 42-yard compactor = 4 tons OCC
  3. Count your semi trailers:

    1 semi full of baled material weighs 20 tons. How many semis do you fill each month? 

Now that you know approximately how many tons of cardboard you generate, determine the most cost- effective method of recycling it:

  • Under 10 tons per month:

    You get the most value by utilizing a compactor; compactors maximize weight. A typical haul charge is $170, so make sure each compactor is completely full before hauling. You should be able to negotiate to earn back between $10 and $15 per ton. 
  • 10 tons per month:

    This is the threshold at which it is cost-effective to invest in a downstroke baler. The value of 10 tons baled material in today's market is about $1,000 and the monthly lease price on a new 13K downstroke baler is about $300. After labor and hauling costs, you are left with minimal profit. This will help you get the best baled cardboard prices.
  • Over 10 tons to 25 tons per month:

    bale your OCC with a downstroke baler and load onto a semi truck for hauling. Take care to make sure you maximize the weight on your trailers to minimize hauling costs. 

  • 20 tons per month:

    This is the threshold at which it becomes cost-effective to invest in a horizontal baler. The value of 20 tons baled material in today's market is about $25,000 and the monthly lease price on a small horizontal baler is about $1,500. After labor costs and hauling (20 tons is one semi trailer load) you are profitable.

  • 25 tons or more per month:

    25 tons or more per month is the point where you must invest in a horizontal baler. Labor costs involved in operating the smaller downstroke baler at this level are too high to make sense. 


Don't forget about your baling your LDPE (plastic film and shrink wrap). Large orders and shipment are most commonly received as cardboard boxes stacked on pallets and wrapped in plastic film or shrink wrap. It's always cost-effective to recycle LDPE; click here to find out how. 

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Advantages of Baling OCC to your Cardboard Recycling Program

By Maggie Caldwell | July 25, 2014

A downstroke, or vertical, baler can be a valuable tool in simplifying the Cardboard Recycling program at your manufacturing, distributing, printing, or retail facility. These machines compact old corrugated cardboard (OCC), plastic film and shrink wrap, and mixed office paper into the 60" x 36" cubes accepted by processing mills. Downstroke baling machines are always a cost-effective investment if you generate:

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