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Recovery Rate for Old Corrugated Containers Soars

Recovery Rate for Old Corrugated Containers Soars

Old corrugated container (OCC) recycling rose to 92.9 percent in 2015, making it one of the most recycled consumer products. When recycled, these containers are reprocessed to create new cardboard and paper products. That accounts for 31.3 million tons of OCC that can then be made into new paper products. According to the Corrugated Packaging Alliance, new corrugated boxes are now made from 47 percent recycled fibers from OCC recycling, which is great news! 

How Does this Compare to Previous Years?

OCC recycling is at its all-time high. The 2015 rate is up 3.7 percent from the previous year. The recycling rate for OCC has been climbing steadily since the 1990s. Curbside pickup accounts for residential recycling efforts while many businesses contract with other service providers as part of their recycling plan.

Why is OCC Recycling Important?

Corrugated cardboard makes up the major portion of shipping and packing materials in the United States. Recycling it reduces greenhouse gases released into the air, reduces the need to deforest the land for virgin trees, reduces water consumption and frees up landfill space. It also provides income to end users.

It is estimated that recycling cardboard saves between 12 and 17 trees per ton. That means that the 31.3 million tons of recycled old corrugated containers saved more than 500 million trees in 2015.

How is OCC Recycled?

The old cardboard is shipped to pulp mills to be reprocessed into new paper products. It is added to a large vat and made into a slurry by adding water and mixing the material. It is then processed into new paper products, like new corrugated containers, cereal boxes, pizza boxes and a variety of shipping materials. Because the process uses the fibers from the original containers it does not require new trees.

How Many Trees Does OCC Recycling Save?

It is estimated that recycling cardboard saves between 12 and 17 trees per ton. That means that recycling 31.3 million tons of OCC saved more than 500 million trees in 2015. According to the North Carolina State University, one tree can absorb 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, which translates to an uptake of 24 billion pounds of carbon dioxide per year by trees saved due to OCC recycling. This makes a positive impact on reducing greenhouse gases and preventing global warming.

What Does this Mean for Businesses?

As a business that receives shipments in corrugated cardboard, this means you can do your part to help the environment and prevent overfilling landfills and make a profit, too. OCC is in high demand in paper mills and processing plants. Implementing an efficient method for handling your recycling efforts is important.

If you want more information about efficient and effective recycling programs for your business, call and talk to one of our consultants today. We can help you find solutions to your recycling problems and devise an effective plan for all your recycling needs.
 

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