Food businesses are being urged to ‘act quickly’ and turn their waste into revenue as cardboard prices in the UK hit new heights. According to figures from letsrecycle.com, cardboard prices are at their highest since their records began 20 years ago, with dry bales of cardboard commanding between £120 and £138 per tonne at UK mills in July 2021. That is a 50-60% increase from January 2021, where bales could reach between £73-£92 per tonne.
Jason Smith, Managing Director of phs Wastekit, which supplies cardboard baling machines to businesses across the UK, said: “The price of cardboard can fluctuate, but 2021 has seen a real acceleration. The pandemic saw demand for cardboard rocket, so businesses have a real opportunity to open up a whole new revenue stream from their cardboard waste as a result.
“Baled waste cardboard, like boxes and packaging, can be sold on to recycling companies, bringing in new revenue for the business, whilst reducing waste collection costs and landfill fees. I find it astonishing that more businesses don’t see the potential in their waste, especially as it costs them so much to dispose of it.”
Cardboard box manufacturers have been struggling with supply issues since 2019, when the global pandemic started. A decline in the use of paper during lockdowns is thought to have caused a shortage – and subsequent increase in price – of the raw recycled materials used in cardboard production. This, coupled with an increase in the demand for cardboard packaging for online shopping during the Covid crisis, is thought to have attributed to the price changes.
Baler machines compact recycled waste such as cardboard or plastic into small, medium or large ‘bundles’, or bales, which can be sold to recycling companies for reuse or resale.
“Selling waste cardboard is beneficial from an environmental and economic perspective,” continued Jason Smith from phs Wastekit. “The revenue stream businesses can create, and the savings they make, supports their bottom line and boosts our economy. From an environmental point of view, there will be fewer waste collections, reduced fuel costs and more quality cardboard back into our recycling system to help supply. It’s a win-win situation.
“Unfortunately, many businesses are still overlooking their waste streams and processes. Businesses need to start accessing their ancillary costs in the same way as they do their core costs. A simple cost benefit analysis will quickly show up unnecessary costs and ways to generate revenue or reduce costs. There are almost always savings to be made in our experience, whether it’s reducing the labour costs associated with waste management or cutting down waste collections and transport costs.”
As well as supplying high quality baler and compactor machines for rent or purchase, phs Wastekit offers servicing, maintenance and waste removal services across the UK, as well as partnerships with recycling companies to support customers. phs Wastekit offers a free Waste Saving Audit and a free trial of a baler or compactor to businesses to see how much they could save without any obligation.