Are Boxes Recyclable? What To Do With Bulk Cardboard Boxes

Posted by author Dawn DeVroom on Fri, Mar 19, 2021

Packaging companies can generate hundreds to thousands of pounds of corrugated cardboard waste each month, leaving many to wonder what to do with it all.

A common question among these companies is, “Are boxes recyclable?” For the most part, yes. 

However, being able to recycle cardboard boxes is one thing. Being able to recycle 5 tons of it is another. 

That’s how much corrugated cardboard waste that the average hospital generates each month. It’s even more for the average department store at 8 to 20 tons per month and the average grocery store at 8 to 30 tons per month.

Packaging companies often have a large supply of cardboard boxes on hand in their warehouses as well, considering boxes are used to transport products to their next step in the supply chain or to package consumer goods themselves.

As a packaging company, having procedures in place for waste is important to maintaining efficient operations. This includes bulk cardboard boxes. 

Below we’ll explore some of your options for recycling cardboard boxes and the benefits of taking advantage of what a certified disposal company can offer as you weigh your options. 

 

Options For Recycling Cardboard Boxes

 

Are Boxes RecyclableMany smaller businesses have recycling bins located out back and an account set up with a local waste management service that removes the cardboard waste on a schedule depending on the terms of the agreement. 

This is a good option for small companies that do not generate a significant amount of cardboard waste. However, for businesses like packaging companies, your recycling bin likely doesn’t offer enough storage until the next time your waste management service visits. It can also be costly to keep multiple receptacles on site, not to mention the amount of valuable real estate space they take up.

Some cities and counties also have recycling centers that feature dumpsters that can accept large amounts of cardboard. However, if your packaging company generates a significant amount of cardboard waste, it likely will not fit in these designated dumpsters. You will also have to arrange your own transportation to these facilities.

A certified waste disposal company is one of the most cost-effective solutions at handling this bulky problem since it can remove large amounts of cardboard waste and transport it to a recycling facility for you…allowing you to focus on your business.

 

Benefits Of A Waste Disposal Company

 

Are Boxes RecyclableWorking with a waste disposal company to remove and recycle your bulk cardboard boxes can offer several benefits. In addition to convenience, quality disposal companies will offer assurance that your waste has been properly disposed of and that any waste you generate moving forward on a regular basis is handled.

Here are 4 advantages of using a waste disposal company to dispose of your bulk cardboard boxes:

 

1. Multiple Box Components Can Be Recycled At Once

 

If you’re a company tasked with handling the packaging for multiple clients, it’s likely you have additional items with each shipment that need to be recycled as well. These may include everything from cardboard inserts to paper and packaging that is damaged and can no longer be used. 

 

2. Hazard Risks Are Reduced

 

Storing excess waste like mounds of cardboard boxes on site can be a fire hazard. They can also take up expensive warehouse space that can be used for other purposes. A disposal company will quickly and regularly remove cardboard waste to ensure there are no risks posed to your employees. 

 

3. A Disposal Company Will Protect The Brand

 

If the cardboard boxes you have at your facility are branded in any way, you will want to consider how that can impact your brand should they end up in the wrong hands. Packaging companies often work with different clients and are responsible for the packaging of their products.

Are Boxes RecyclableManufacturers may ship these products to the packaging companies in boxes that feature the company’s logo or other company information. When packaged products are shipped to the end user, such as a retail site, these products may also be shipped in cardboard boxes that feature a company’s logo. 

Here’s where that may become a problem. It’s possible that an employee or unscrupulous disposal company may steal product packaging, insert their own counterfeit product and sell it on the grey market. A consumer is none the wiser, but the product manufacturer will be and will hold you accountable … damaging your reputation and bottom line. 

If any component of the packaging is deemed unusable, unsellable or not to standard, it should be properly destroyed. This may include the outer layer of shipping boxes or any product packaging itself. Often, errors occur during the printing process or the packaging is not constructed to company standards. 

These situations call for certified product disposal to ensure that no one tries to sell their counterfeit products in the manufacturer’s unusable packaging. It is important to use a company that specializes in this type of disposal and get guarantee that the packaging has been destroyed.

 

4. Multiple Waste Streams Can Be Handled

 

Most businesses have multiple waste streams. Some will head to the landfill, others will head to a recycling facility. Some may need special disposal considerations, such as electronic waste, hazardous waste or product disposal

Arranging a solution for each type of waste can be a logistical nightmare. The good news is that the best disposal companies will not only be able to ensure your cardboard box waste is recycled, they will also be able to handle any other waste you generate … ensuring you meet any disposal regulations for each type of waste.

How To Find A Cardboard Waste Disposal Company

 

When searching for a disposal company that can handle your cardboard waste, it’s important to work with one that has knowledge of any rules or regulations associated with recycling this type of Are Boxes Recyclablewaste. 

For example, although cardboard boxes or any type of corrugated cardboard is largely unregulated in California compared to other types of waste, the cardboard must be “very clean” in order to be eligible for recycling, according to CalRecycle. That means no residues of any kind or only very lightly stained.

Additional services to look for in a disposal company include:

  • The ability to identify waste streams through profiling and testing
  • The development of site-specific plans that meet your needs as a company (depending on the type of waste you generate, these may include training and emergency preparation)
  • The ability to transport to recycling and disposal sites as often as your company requires
  • The knowledge needed to prepare a manifest correctly when one is required, as well as any other state and federal paperwork 
  • The ability to provide proof that your waste streams were properly disposed of, whether through documentation, video or other sources

Even if your business only generates non-hazardous waste such as bulk cardboard boxes, working with a company that offers a waste assessment or walk-through program can be beneficial as well. Taking a second look at your processes to ensure your waste management is as efficient as possible can offer long-term advantages such as cost savings and compliance.

 

A Long-Term Solution

 

Businesses like packaging companies, retail establishments and medical facilities all generate a substantial amount of cardboard waste. Simply discarding them in the nearest recycling bin won’t do because of volume alone. 

Working with a certified and reputable waste disposal company can provide a cost-effective, long-term solution to managing this type of waste, as well as any other waste types you generate as a company. This helps to ensure you are meeting all regulatory guidelines and are operating as efficiently as possible.  

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