cardboard recycle

Commercial Cardboard Recycling : Northern IL and Chicago Recycling

As consumers, we are all too familiar with how boxes can start piling up from home deliveries.  In commercial facilities, it can be a major challenge to keep up with the piles of cardboard boxes that start accumulating quickly after deliveries. New cardboard takes a lot of energy and water to create, depleting resources best used elsewhere. That is why it is important to prioritize corrugated cardboard recycling by using a cardboard recycler like HazChem. HazChem Environmental specializes in commercial cardboard recycling. HazChem has been in the Northern IL and Chicago recycling business for over 30 years, keeping its impact on the environment to a minimum. Corrugated cardboard recycling is among the most frequent and successful recycled materials in the world. In fact, you may be recycling cardboard boxes that were already made out of recycled cardboard materials.

Environmental Benefits of Corrugated Cardboard Recycling

Corrugated cardboard is the type that has the fluted zig-zag layers between the brown flat sheets that create air chambers. This helps make it stronger and reduces damage to the product. Fortunately, most corrugated cardboard can go to a cardboard recycler. Commercial cardboard recycling is a good way to help the environment while saving space in the warehouse.

Recycling corrugated cardboard offers several advantages to all involved. By repurposing used corrugated cardboard, we diminish water consumption and the release of greenhouse gases. This is because we can craft new boxes and containers from recycled cardboard materials instead of using fresh resources. Furthermore, cardboard recycling diminishes the need for pristine timber, which involves timber harvested from natural, uncultivated forests. Approximately three tons of virgin timber are needed to produce one ton of cardboard. Recycling helps alleviate this demand, resulting in savings of nine cubic yards of landfill space for every ton recycled. The corrugated cardboard recycling is a comprehensive process that yields benefits for everyone.

In our increasingly eco-conscious world, the practice of commercial cardboard recycling has become a fundamental component of sustainable living. Among the many materials that can be recycled, corrugated cardboard recycling stands out as an unsung hero of recycling programs. These ubiquitous boxes, used for packaging everything from appliances to cereal, are not only an essential part of our daily lives but also have a profound impact on our environment.

Corrugated Cardboard Recycling offers a multitude of environmental advantages, ranging from reduced resource consumption to diminished waste. Here are some of the key benefits:

  1. Resource Conservation: The production of corrugated boxes relies heavily on natural resources, particularly timber. By recycling cardboard boxes, we reduce the demand for virgin timber, which helps protect forests and conserve valuable ecosystems.
  2. Energy Savings: Creating new corrugated cardboard from recycled cardboard material consumes significantly less energy than producing it from scratch. This results in reduced greenhouse gas emissions and a smaller carbon footprint.
  3. Water Usage Reduction: The manufacturing of cardboard involves significant water usage. Recycling corrugated cardboard boxes significantly cuts down water consumption in the production process, contributing to water conservation efforts.
  4. Waste Diversion: When corrugated boxes are not recycled, they often end up in landfills, occupying valuable space and contributing to waste problems. Cardboard recycling reduces the strain on landfill sites, which are already under immense pressure in many areas.
  5. Economic Benefits: Corrugated cardboard recycling also generates economic benefits by supporting the recycling industry and providing jobs in collection, sorting, and processing facilities.

Can All Boxes be Recycled?

Under most circumstances, boxes can and should be recycled. However, any cardboard that has touched food directly is non-recyclable (pizza boxes).  It is also non-recyclable if the box got wet, is waxed (such as milk or juice containers), or if it is plastic lined (such as containers for produce). Items such as food, specific plastics, and other foreign substances are categorized as “contaminants” when it comes to recycling cardboard. If any liquid or food product is spilled into the box, it is not acceptable for recycling. These incompatible elements have the potential to disrupt the cardboard recycling process and their inclusion can lead to the rejection of an entire load of recyclable materials. Consequently, it is of utmost importance to ensure that they are excluded from collection by a cardboard recycler.

How is Cardboard Recycling Done?

A significant portion of cardboard boxes is crafted from recycled materials or residual components from the timber industry, such as sawdust and wood chips. The box is emptied from the products that arrived in it. It can be dangerous transporting corrugated cardboard boxes if anything spilled or contaminated them.

That’s another reason HazChem is the cardboard recycler to call. We can handle any hazardous waste if a spill occurs during deliveries. Once the boxes are emptied, they are opened and flattened to save space during transport.  Emptying the boxes means not only the product, but all the packaging materials as well. This may include bubble wrap, packaging peanuts, foam inserts or anything else that the box contained. Depending on the volume, once they are flattened, they can be baled. Baling compresses the cardboard ensuring lower transportation cost by reducing space. Once at the commercial cardboard recycling facility, it will be sorted to remove any contaminants like plastics or labels. The destination is a paper mill, where it can be shredded or processed to make new paper or cardboard products.

Processing: The sorted cardboard is broken down into pulp through a process that combines water and mechanical action. The resulting pulp can be used to create a wide range of paper products, from new corrugated boxes to paper towels, tissues, cereal boxes and writing paper.  This reincarnation significantly reduces the environmental impact associated with creating cardboard from raw materials. 

HazChem only provides pickups for commercial or Industrial businesses, but most urban communities, including Chicago and Suburbs, offer curbside recycling programs that make it easy for residents to recycle cardboard. It is important to recycle at home too!

The History of Corrugated Cardboard:

The history of corrugated cardboard is a fascinating journey that has transformed the packaging and shipping industries. Here is a brief overview of its evolution:

  1. Early Forms of Corrugated Paper (18th Century): The concept of corrugation dates back to the 18th century when individuals used pleated paper as cushioning and lining materials in their hats. It was primarily a decorative and protective technique for various objects.
  2. Corrugated Paper Patents (19th Century): The first patents related to corrugated paper were issued in England during the early 19th century, and they mainly pertained to decorative applications. It was not yet widely used for packaging or industrial purposes.
  3. Development of Corrugated Packaging (Late 19th Century): The real breakthrough for corrugated cardboard came in the late 19th century. In 1856, Albert Jones of New York City received the first patent for a corrugated paperboard. However, it was not until 1871 that two Englishmen, Healey and Allen, patented the process of manufacturing corrugated paper for use in shipping containers.
  4. The Birth of the Corrugated Box (Late 19th Century): In the 1870s, manufacturers began using corrugated paperboard to create sturdy and lightweight packaging materials. This innovation allowed for the safe transportation of various goods, replacing heavy wooden crates and cumbersome packaging methods.
  5. Introduction of the Cardboard Box (20th Century): Corrugated cardboard gained widespread popularity during the early 20th century. Its versatility and cost-effectiveness made it an ideal choice for shipping and packaging various products. It was used extensively during both World Wars for packing and shipping military supplies.
  6. Continuous Advancements and Modern Usage: Over the decades, corrugated cardboard technology continued to evolve. Today, corrugated cardboard is used for a wide range of applications, from shipping containers and product packaging to displays and signage. Modern corrugated cardboard is designed to be strong, lightweight, and environmentally friendly.
  7. Sustainability and Recycling: In recent years, corrugated cardboard has embraced sustainable practices. It is highly recyclable and can be used to create new packaging and paper products, reducing its environmental impact.

Corrugated cardboard has become an indispensable part of the packaging industry due to its strength, versatility, and eco-friendliness. Its development has had a significant impact on the way products are shipped, stored, and presented to consumers, revolutionizing the world of packaging and contributing to the reduction of waste through corrugated cardboard recycling initiatives.

Conclusion: Commercial Cardboard Recycling

Recycling corrugated cardboard boxes is not just an eco-friendly gesture but an essential step in reducing our environmental impact and promoting sustainability. It conserves resources, saves energy, and helps divert waste from landfills. As businesses, we play a crucial role in making the recycling cardboard boxes. By embracing this simple yet effective practice, we can contribute to a cleaner and greener planet, one corrugated box at a time. In addition to a being a cardboard recycler, at HazChem we also recycle pallets, provide commercial plastics recycling, and other industrial recycling services such as E-Waste or Electronics Recycling.  HazChem offers other waste transportation services, including emergency rapid response teams.

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