Cardboard Recycling Facts

We all know that recycling is an environmentally friendly and altruistic action, saving billions of trees and raw materials. We all know that there are a lot of recycled materials out there that have served up to hundred different purposes in total. But when it comes to cardboard waste in the business world specifically, there’s a lot more nuance to the handling process than you may realise.  For your company, what you don’t know about recycling cardboard could make a real difference between turning a good profit and turning a great one. And so, to ensure you’re handling your waste properly from here on out within your business, here are 5 cardboard recycling facts to keep in mind.

Cardboard is the Most Recycled Material in the UK

With around 5 and a half million tonnes of paper and cardboard thrown away each year in the UK, it only makes sense that cardboard is the most recycled material across the country. In the United States, this number increases to over 46 million tonnes! In both countries, corrugated cardboard (the type of cardboard mostly used in packaging) is the number one recycled material within this category.  But to prevent paper and cardboard from overwhelming landfill every year, we can easily take cardboard products to recycling facilities instead. As a small business who cares about their carbon footprint, this is a great way to keep your emissions total down. You may even be able to use your old cardboard for new purposes once it’s been taken through the cardboard recycling process. 

Cardboard Can Have Different Grades

Did you know that there are various types of cardboard on the market? And when you shove old cardboard and paper into your company’s recycling bins for waste disposal, the grade of the product is what determines if it can be usefully recycled or not?  For example, many corrugated cardboard boxes can be sent straight through the recycling process, as this is the strongest grade we currently use. Corrugated cardboard has many grades to signpost what it can be used for, known as ‘flutes’. The stronger the fluted material within each layer, the better the cardboard is. These grades are also determined based on the paper type, the weight of the cardboard, and how many layers are in the cardboard itself. 

Cardboard Makes Up the Majority of Shipping Material

Up to 90% of all products around the world are shipped in cardboard packaging materials. It’s a good way to reduce wastefulness within a business, thanks to cardboard’s often recycled nature, and it prevents more microplastics from being released into the environment. For that simple reason it beats out plastic from the delivery market, which is the runner up packaging material in this sector.  Furthermore, as a company that needs to have both aesthetic and functional packaging for all products, using cardboard is a great way to keep both your costs and shipping emissions down. It can be easily recycled by the end customer, and it helps to maintain fuel efficiency during transport due to its lightweight nature. 

Cardboard Recycling is Energy Efficient

Cardboard, as a product made up of paper fibres extracted from trees, is one of the most recyclable materials on the planet. And when it comes to taking an environmentally friendly approach to waste management, recycling cardboard is far more energy efficient than cutting down and processing new cardboard.  And that’s one of the biggest benefits of recycling you need to know about. Upwards of 70% of the total energy used in original cardboard production is saved when you’re recycling and reusing old cardboard. It can then be baled, broken down, and mixed with water to make new, useful pulp. In fact, every ton of recycled cardboard saves 9 cubic yards of landfill space!

Recycled Cardboard is Very Valuable

One last fact to finish off: recycled cardboard can be very valuable. When you recycle your waste pieces of cardboard as a company, storing and bulking these cardboard saves can make you a further profit in the long run. When working with a reliable waste management service, this bulk volume can be taken away and sold, which is a good way to balance out your revenue stream. You can easily compact and manage your waste materials by purchasing a cardboard baler. A company can get anywhere between £20-£140 per tonne of cardboard waste when they’re selling by bulk volume. However, even as this price fluctuates, the more you sell to waste companies, the more likely you are to get rebates. Please note that the value your business may receive for cardboard bales takes into account haulage costs & other factors like the overall weight and quality.