It could save your business money, earn you the best price for your bulk waste, and help you prove your recycling credentials to your customers.
So, should you buy, rent, or lease a cardboard baler?
Here’s our handy guide to help you make an informed decision.
Why should we all recycle cardboard?
The simple answer is that it saves trees and reduces the amount of waste going to landfill.
Of course, if we’re cutting down trees, they aren’t helping us take excess carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Plus, we’re rapidly running out of landfill space and the costs are only going to spiral.
Making cardboard from scratch requires wood pulp from felled trees and involves a process using several chemicals. In fact, a tonne of cardboard made this way uses almost three tonnes of wood.
Making it from recycled cardboard means that trees don’t have to be felled, it cuts many of the chemicals out of the process and reduces the energy used.
Did you also know that for every tonne of cardboard recycled, more than six cubic metres of landfill space is saved?
In the UK, 84% of all the corrugated cardboard we use is recycled, which means two million tonnes a year is saved from landfill.
We could do better when it comes to other forms of cardboard and paper, though, as around seven million tonnes a year is still going to landfill.
How is cardboard recycled?
The waste cardboard is chopped up into small pieces and mixed with water to form a slurry.
Any foreign items such as metals or plastic are removed at this stage, and then the cardboard paste is pressed until it achieves the correct consistency and dried. More water is added as the paste, called the noodle, is processed.
It’s then pressed into the thickness required, dried again, and used to create new cardboard for boxes or packaging or chipboard.
Why should businesses recycle cardboard?
Sending waste to landfill is an expensive business.
Including landfill tax and depending on which part of the UK businesses operate in, the average charge is around £130 per ton, and £85 of that figure would be landfill tax.
So, it makes business sense to ensure the smallest amount possible is sent to landfill and everything you can recycle is recycled. Otherwise, it can all add up to a substantial bill.
There are also the costs of waste and recycling collections. If you throw uncompacted cardboard boxes into your skip, you’ll fill that volume up much more quickly than if you used a baler for compaction. You’ll need more collections per month, quarter, or year.
So, a decision not to bale it could be costing you dearly.
On the flip side of the coin, sending cardboard for recycling could earn your business revenue to offset the costs of dealing with it.
The recycling of cardboard can be from free to a rebate of £50 when trading conditions are good, something which could be a welcome boost to your bottom line.
Having sustainable recycling policies is also great PR for a business.
Many consumers now also look at eco-friendly credentials before they decide to buy.
What are the benefits of using a baler?
When it comes to disposing of your cardboard waste, transportation is a huge part of the cost.
The more volume you transport, the more it costs.
So, one easy way to reduce costs is to reduce the volume of the weight you send for recycling.
A baler uses tonnes of force to compact that cardboard waste, reducing the volume by up to 90%, so more of it fits into a lorry’s container for transportation.
It also turns a business liability into something which is an immediately sellable material.
When baled waste reaches its destination, recycling companies will be looking for baled waste which reduces their cost of processing it. Unbaled waste would have to be baled by their own staff.
That means your business would earn less for it.
A baler could also help your site become tidier and safer, removing piles of empty boxes which could become a fire or trip hazard and freeing up precious floor space.
Should you rent a baler?
This is a cost-effective and flexible method of getting a baler for your business.
Renting monthly allows you to have all the benefits without a major capital outlay, keeping the funds in your business for other things such as hiring staff or buying in raw materials. It also allows you to scale up easily by taking on a larger baler if more waste is being produced.
Rental agreements can also come with servicing and 24-hour breakdown repair, ensuring your business can run smoothly even if something does go wrong. Regular servicing also helps reduce the number of consumables you need.
What are the costs? – Between £15 and £50 a week.
Should you lease a baler?
Lease agreements tend to be longer-term than rental agreements, often 12 to 60 months.
So, business owners who know they’ll need a baler for a lengthy period may find a better deal by leasing and fixing their costs.
There are two types of lease, lease to buy and lease rental, which is a hire agreement where you don’t own the equipment at the end of the lease.
These agreements can also have tax benefits as lease rental is 100% tax deductible. All the payments you make for the baler can be written off against your company’s tax bill.
What are the costs? – Leases tend to be the rental cost plus 8% flat rate interest, which can add up to 40% compound interest over a five-year lease. Typically, that could add up to £3,500 for a small baler over five years and £7,500 for a medium baler over the same period.
Should you buy a baler?
Buying a baler involves an immediate capital outlay, sometimes running into thousands of pounds.
A service or maintenance contract would also have to be negotiated separately, but most new balers come with a six or 12-month warranty.
What are the costs? – New small balers cost around £3,500. Large, new balers can cost around £12,000. A good second hand small baler would still cost between £2,000 and £3,500.
How do you choose the right cardboard baler for your site?
Getting the correct baler is a matter of matching the equipment to the size of your business and the output of cardboard waste you produce. Here’s your at-a-glance checklist of the questions you need to ask:
- How much cardboard does your business produces every month?
- How much space does your business have?
- What’s the size and type of baler most suitable for your business?
- Do you need a portable or static baler?
- How much will you need to budget for consumables and accessories?
Vertical v horizontal balers – Vertical balers are fed at the top and compress items from top to bottom, so they tend to be smaller in size and are more suited to businesses with small to medium amounts of cardboard waste. A vertical baler would suit most UK businesses. Horizontal balers are perfect for industrial amounts of card as they can be fed can be fed from a conveyor, chute, forklift truck, or bin tipper. They automate a good deal of the process to save on staff time, too.
Small v large balers – You’ll need to weigh up the amount of your cardboard waste against the size of your site. Smaller premises such as shops or offices will need a smaller baler making 30kg bales. Larger businesses will need a twin-chamber baler which produced 100kg bales. Industrial premises will need a mill-sized baler making bales of up to 450kg. Check out the specifications on each baler to see which would suit your needs and take into account how much space you’ll need to store cardboard before processing.
Static v portable balers – Will you need to move your baler around your site? If so, a portable baler would be the best option for your business, especially if you’re dealing with small to medium amounts of cardboard waste and have limited space. Larger balers tend to be static, so you’ll need a permanent site with enough space for loading card.
Getting expert advice – Talking to waste management consultants with decades of experience in the field, like ours at Inspire Waste Management, will help you work out all the issues you need to consider when choosing a baler. They can carry out a site survey and help you calculate the accurate volume of waste you produce.
Budgeting for accessories – You’ll need to ensure you have enough in the budget for accessories such as baler oil, strapping, wire, and bags.
Baling twine costs around £100 for four reels, while a compact baler trolley will cost around £140 and a bundle of baling wire costs around £40.
Are you looking for a company with expert waste management consultants, like Inspire Waste Management, who can help you get the right cardboard baler for your business? Call our friendly Inspire Waste team on 0800 002 9282.