For a material that can save 9 cubic yards of landfill space for each ton that's recycled, cardboard is also a highly sought commodity in the scrap market!
However, just generating a lot of cardboard doesn't necessarily mean that you're getting the best value for your material. The price that recyclers pay for cardboard will be influenced by the following:
1) Quality of Material: If cardboard is successfully separated from other material streams at your business, you'll eliminate the risk of contamination downgrades that occur when further processing is required to remove unwanted items. Recyclables must meet certain standards in order to be accepted by mills. In addition to possible contamination, the quality of cardboard can be affected by exposure to precipitation. When fiber gets wet, it weakens and becomes easier to tear. This reduces its overall value, and generally leads to moisture deductions. Keeping your cardboard dry and separated from other materials will be a great start in protecting its value!
2) Form of Material: When you're looking into transportation options for your cardboard, remember that hauling costs are one of the biggest factors that reduce recycling rebates. The more cardboard you can load onto one shipment (within the legal limit of course), the less freight cost will be per ton of material. While air is a wonderful thing that keeps us alive, we don't necessarily want to pay for it to be transported. If you can densify your cardboard either with a baler or compactor to prepare it for shipment, this is the most cost-effective way to haul it.
3) Composition of Bales: You can improve cardboard bale weights by not breaking down cardboard boxes before baling them. Boxes actually group together and bale better than flattened cardboard. Not only does each bale end up being more dense, but there's a decreased risk of the bale falling apart.
4) Bale Weights: Have you ever Googled an average bale weight for a given material? If you have, you probably got 20 different answers. This is largely due to the fact that different models, styles, and sizes of balers produce different sizes of bales. If you're producing light-weight bales, then you're losing a substantial amount of weight on the total load. Therefore, it's best to regularly check bale weights and set target weights to ensure that you're getting the most value possible from each bale.
While these are some of the factors that influence material value, there are more in the recycling industry. Some may be specific to your business, and others might be hidden beneath other material recovery processes.
If you have any questions regarding your program, our service professionals are always happy to help!
Thanks for reading!