cardboard collected for recycling

A cardboard is a generic term used for paper based cards that are used for various purposes. Based on the requirements these cards are made from paper based solution. Similarly, cardboard is also used for manufacturing cardboard boxes that are made from paper based cardboards of high thick and durable quality.

Cardboard boxes are used for various purposes like storing various kinds of items including electronic appliances, smartphones, furniture, plastic items and nearly every solid item of average size. Some of the items are a bit heavy and some are to be handled with care therefore these boxes are made keeping in mind their durability and rigidity.

These cardboard boxes in order to increase their strength are laminated with plastic or other strong adhesive. If you take out time to look at items that are on sale near you, you will find that most of the items are packed in a cardboard box. Earlier the choice was wooden boxes but it has been replaced by cardboard boxes which are durable, easy to handle, portable, light in weight and cheap for usage.

In comparison to wooden boxes, cardboard boxes can be recycled for further usage while those wooden boxes though maybe used 2-3 times but becomes unusable later on and the only purpose it serves is to use it for animal bedding or shelter or burn it into ashes. Cardboard boxes on the other hand have the advantage of getting recycled for further usage. You can start your own cardboard recycling business for some quick cash. Read details on how to start cardboard recycling business:-

Usage of Cardboard Boxes and its Waste

As mentioned above, cardboard boxes have variety of usage in the present times. Whatever product you sell of a medium size, most of these products are packed in such boxes. Some example of product packaging includes, packaging of nearly most of the fruits like mangoes, apple, pomegranate, grapes in cardboard boxes.

Packing of plastic goods used in vanity, housing, furniture, kitchen, bathroom takes place in boxes.

Furniture of small and medium size are packed in the same while furniture of bigger size is wrapped using such cardboard sheets.

Products of daily usage like eatable items, cosmetics, electronic appliances like TV, fridge, AC, mobile phones, etc. are packed using such cardboard boxes.

The usage of cardboard boxes is in huge numbers given its reliability, durability, rigidity, light weight and cheapness. As the usage of these boxes is immense so is the waste generation. Most of the boxes after heavy duty become useless only after first use while some of them can be used for maximum twice or thrice. After that they are dumped as waste products.

Even as waste they are valued at good price per quintal or ton. Waste cardboard boxes are ideal waste that is preferred for recycling. Many waste recycling industries are thriving on cardboard box recycling.

What is Cardboard Recycling?

Cardboard recycling is the process of recycling cardboard boxes for reusing it for further purpose. Cardboard is basically called corrugated cardboard which is recycled by going through the due process. The process is quite simple and affordable in nature where cardboard boxes are first collected from different places and they are sorted and segregated.

The plastic, printed and labeled part is removed and kept aside while the only remaining cardboard sheet is placed for recycling. These cardboard sheets are then pulped using water solution and then is cleaned. Using chemical process and other such process cardboard is recycled.

Since the usage of boxes is huge and in order to manufacture 1 ton of cardboard, 3 tons of woods in the form of trees are cut. Similarly, one ton of cardboard waste acquires 9 cubic yard of land.

There are various advantages of recycling cardboard boxes. Some of them are:

  • It helps in reduction of waste in the society. Since the usage of cardboard boxes are huge the generation of waste is also the same
  • Recycling of boxes help in reducing deforestation since 3 tons of woods are required to manufacture one ton of cardboard sheets
  • Recycling also reduces the cost of raw material since recycled cardboard is always cheaper than the new one

Equipment Required for Recycling Cardboard Boxes

In order to recycle cardboard you have to follow some of the recycling process. Recycling them also requires using certain equipment that facilitate the recycling process and makes recycling quickly. Machines also increases the quantity of recycled waste and is also quite efficient and affordable. Some of the equipment that are used in waste cardboard recycling are:

Waste Balers:

A waste baler is basically a compressor that is used to press and squeeze out the size of waste product. In a normal situation, a waste cardboard box that occupies a normal space of one square feet can be reduced to a minimal size of its normal size. Most of the businesses dealing with waste recycle use this baler for pressing waste to reduce transportation cost and also increase space for keeping the waste.

Waste Separators:

Waste separators are used to separate different kinds of waste from one another. For cardboard waste, it may be used to separate the cardboard from plastics attached to it.

Waste Shredder:

A waste shredder is used to cut down paper waste and other such wastes into small parts or strips that makes further usage easy. Cardboard boxes can also be cut into pieces using such shredders.

Wrapping Machines:

Wrapping machines are used to cover, wrap or bandage the waste that is pressed using baler for transportation or other usage so that small pieces of the waste doesn’t fall here and there.

Waste Conveyer Belts:

These belts are used to unload and carrying from one medium to another bulk pieces of waste specially the one that is pressed out from the baler. These belts can be joined using nuts and are easy to be accessed.

Reel Cutter or Splitters:

They are used to cut down the bulk pieces of papers that have been pressed for further processing. Based on the size and type you can get one of such cutters.

Waste Sorting Plants:

They are used to sort of different kinds of wastes like the ones of municipal waste, hazardous waste, liquid waste, biodegradable waste, etc.

Waste Bag Opener:

These are used to open the bags which contain solid municipal wastes in it. They are used to avoid damages to the item inside while opening.

Apart from these there are many other equipment that are used to recycle cardboard waste and to assist the recycling. A thorough research is must along with consultation with people in this business.

Steps Involved in Cardboard Recycling

Cardboard recycling involves several steps. While some of the steps are common with waste recycling some of the steps are exclusive for cardboard recycling. Let’s understand the process of cardboard recycling.

Collection of Waste:

The first step involves collection of cardboard waste from different sources and piling it up to a common place from where it can be transported to the place of recycling. At the collection point all kinds of cardboards are examined and only those that can be recycled are kept while the rest are forwarded for special recycling. For a business, collection of cardboard waste is important. You can network with scrap collectors and others who sell such scraps in stock.

Process of Sorting:

Sorting is the second step after the cardboard is collected. This step requires sorting out different types of cardboards according to their size, weight and type. For example, there are thin boxes used for cereal packaging while the others are thick and used to pack heavy items. Such wastes are sorted out and are then processed accordingly.

Shredding and Pulping:

Shredding is the breaking down of cardboard pieces into minute parts using some machine especially made for it. These pieces are so minute that it becomes easy to pulp them. Pulping is the process of mixing water into the shredded pieces of cardboard along with chemicals in order to dissolve it and make it a slurry mixture. Then some new pulp material is blended with the already formed mixture to form hard cardboard.

Filtering, Con-terminal Removal and De-inking:

The fourth step involves filtering of the formed pulp. This process ensures that any foreign material whatsoever has remained in the pulp gets sorted out. Using centrifugal process glues, plastic material and tapes are removed while the other impurities float on the water base and the solid material sinks down. The next step is de-inking where any type of ink is removed from the pulp mixture by passing it through chemicals which remove them thoroughly. Screening is also used to ensure that the remaining pulp is extremely clean and can be used further.

Finishing for Reuse:

This final stage involves the blending of the already processed pulp with new materials in order to form new cardboard sheets. Here the pulp after mixing it with required material is put on a conveyer belt where it is left to dry using automated machines.

The pulp is heated in a controlled temperature to get the required hardness. It is also well pressed to remove water from inside. Thus the linerboard sheets are formed and they are glued to form thick sheets of cardboard. Using other machines the cardboard is cut into required size and is glued to fit required thickness.

Here’s How you can Start Your Own Cardboard Recycling Business

As you have understood the process of recycling cardboard it is now time to get a glimpse of how you can start your business and what are the basic requirements while you are paving your way for your recycling startup.

1. Selecting the Location of your Business:

2. Registering your Business and Licensing:

3. Capital Investment:

4. Source of Market for your Recycled Cardboards:

Two things are important in this perspective. Firstly, from where you will get the waste cardboard and second is after you recycle the cardboard waste, where will you sell it and in what form?

The first thing you must do is to do deep research on the market of cardboard. This requires meeting with the stakeholders and networking with them who are already into this business. This will help you in getting waste for recycling. You can also network with scrap pickers and small waste collectors who collect waste.

Your source of market will depend of what kind of cardboard product you have recycled. Your buyers will be mostly those manufacturers who will use cardboard for further usage in making boxes and other such items. Which means that they will require a particular kind of cardboard for usage. Quality, firmness, size and weight will play the role in sourcing your market.

Understand what kind of product you will have after recycling and who the potential buyers of the same are. As you figure out you can team up with them and create a chain of network for selling your recycled goods.

5. Staff and Manpower:

6. Advertising and Marketing:

Advertising and marketing is applicable for both purchasing of wastes and selling of recycled goods. Many waste collectors don’t know about recyclers and they end up selling their waste collection at lesser price. You should advertise well among their fraternity to get bulk of waste for recycling. Marketing on the other hand requires you to network with your market where you will sell you recycled goods. It should be noted that market doesn’t accepts only particular type of recycled goods but of variety. Try to team up with most of them to sell your recycled goods at good price.

Return on Investment and Profit Margin in Cardboard Recycling


Recycling is an environment friendly method of restoring goods for further usage by making it look new. It is profitable as a business and is also very feasible in the market. There are series of advantages attached with recycling cardboard.

One of such advantage is the simple five steps of recycling that is not much complex and can give you good returns since the demand is very high of cardboard. Since the business is widespread it is also a very competitive market and making your own space may require time and struggle. But if you have made up your mind then you should proceed and triumph the recycling business of cardboard.

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