Big Business Sees the Value in Waste Paper Recycling

Many of the most recognizable big-box retailers are “cashing in” on waste paper recycling opportunities. Wal-Mart and Big Lots are just two to see the value in waste paper recycling, according to a recent article in the Charleston Business Journal.

Corrugated cardboard is the greatest source of waste paper collected by recyclers says, Ron Novas with Miami Waste Paper. And these large retailers generate a lot of it. Cardboard is bulky and it takes up large amounts of space in dumpsters. Initiating a cardboard and waste paper recycling program can greatly reduce a retailer’s disposal hauling costs by lowering the amount of cubic yards of waste generated.

A spokesperson for Big Lots Stores said recycling of cardboard not only generates additional revenue for their stores, but they save a lot of money by recycling cardboard and waste paper. If the stores did not recycle, the cardboard would have to go into solid waste dumpsters and they would have to pay a hefty pick-up charge to have it hauled away to dumpsites.

Turning cardboard into income
Wal-Mart, and its subsidiary Sam’s Club, have also been turning cardboard into income. In South Carolina for example the company says it generated almost 500,000 tons of office mix in 2003. According to the company, each store is responsible for handle its own paper recycling program. Then all of the paper and cardboard waste goes to one central processor for recycling.

Paper dealers such as Miami Waste Products will put balers on-site at these retailer’s locations and pay for the cardboard they pick-up. A bale of cardboard typically weighs around 1,000 pounds and payment is given per ton, based on the current market price.

Says Ron Novas, Executive VP of Miami Waste Paper: “We buy paper and cardboard from companies both large and small. It’s a win-win for everybody. We get the materials we need, the companies gain a new revenue stream and putting one of our bailers on-site can often help a business obtain LEED or some other type of green certification.”

Miami Waste Paper exports the cardboard to paper mills in China and India, where it is processed. According to Novas, all of the material collected is usable, with about 93% recycled into paper by the foreign mills and the remaining debris, such as binding materials and tape, burned to create electricity.