Choosing a Baler for Cardboard Recycling

By Maggie Caldwell | March 28, 2018

Any type of company - manufacturers, distributors, printers, retailers, or some other type of business - that generates a minimum 10 tons (20,000 pounds) of old corrugated cardboard (OCC) each month should invest in a baler. Choosing the right baler for your particular volume of cardboard recycling allows you to streamline your recycling program and maximize the revenue you receive from your recyclable materials by:

  • forming solid blocks of individual commodity: old corrugated cardboard (OCC), plastics bottles, plastic film and shrink wrap, etc.
  • doubling commodity value when you process it yourself
  • allowing you to get rid of excess gaylords, saving floor space
  • maximizing weight of your recyclables so you don't pay to haul air

Balers are a tool in your recycling program, and like any tool it's important to choose the right one for the job. Don't waste money on a baler that does more than you need; for many businesses the simplest choice is the best one. On the other hand, larger volume generators will find that the right investment in equipment helps trim labor costs involved in recycling. Here's what you need to know to make the appropriate decision for your recycling volume and available space.  

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The Definitive Guide to Cardboard Recycling

By John Daniel | March 28, 2018

OCC recycling, or cardboard recycling, is broadly defined as the use of condensed packing of large quantities of a given material. Cardboard is the baseline for this particular type of recycling because it is so common in the distribution and manufacturing industries. This product is recycled into a form that can be reused by businesses, and this effectively reduces the business' emissions of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants into the air. 

Cardboard Recycling: Best Practices

Recycling is a standard part of many business operations. The basic idea of recycling is practically taken for granted because of the sheer volume processed through industrial facilities on a daily basis. The question of how and where to store recyclables in a facility is primarily a question of quantity. There are different sizes of containers available for temporarily storing cardboard waste until it can be recycled. The decision is straightforward, because there are best practices available. Business owners can refer to these standards in order to determine the best method for dealing with it. The available options can be ordered based on the quantity of materials that the business expects to process. There are high and low volume options, and the business manager must decide how much space is available for the unit. 

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The three main containers for storing recyclable cardboard are: 

• Dumpster
Compactor
Balers

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Choosing a Baler

By Maggie Caldwell | August 5, 2014

Any type of company - manufacturers, distributors, printers, retailers, or some other type of business - that generates a minimum 10 tons (20,000 pounds) of recyclable commodities each month should invest in a baler. Choosing the right baler for your volume allows you to streamline your recycling program and maximize the revenue you receive from your recyclable materials by:

  • forming solid blocks of individual commodity: old corrugated cardboard (OCC), plastics bottles, plastic film and shrink wrap, etc.
  • doubling commodity value when you process it yourself
  • allowing you to get rid of excess gaylords, saving floor space
  • maximizing weight of your recyclables so you don't pay to haul air

Balers are a tool in your recycling program, and like any tool it's important to choose the right one for the job. Don't waste money on a baler that does more than you need; for many businesses the simplest choice is the best one. On the other hand, larger volume generators will find that the right investment in equipment helps trim labor costs involved in recycling.

Read More >

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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