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Consideration of Paper Balers


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If you work in an office environment or any environment in which different types of paper are used and need disposing of, your business is the perfect candidate for mixed paper recycling. Mixed paper by definition is, different types of paper mixed together. For instance, phone books, magazines, junk mail, office paper, paperboard packaging, or any kind of paper that doesn’t fall into the category of corrugated cardboard or newspaper is considered mixed paper.

Mixed paper constitutes the largest portion of municipal solid waste (MSW). Because it is the largest portion of the waste stream, mixed paper also offers the best opportunity for recycling. It has been proven that if you make available the bins for recycled material, it will become second nature for the employees to join in the recycling efforts, even if it means leaving their desk to do so.


  • In recent years, about 85 million tons of mixed paper products were generated by Americans, which was a 3-fold increase from 1960.

  • Approximately 52 percent of all mixed paper products were recovered in 2006 which was almost 3 times the percent recovered in 1960.

The recycling rates of mixed paper recently are as follows:   

  • Office Paper: 66 percent

  • Magazines: 41 percent

  • Telephone Directories: 19 percent

Many times this paper ends up in our garbage cans rather than becoming part of a recycling program in which the mixed paper can be turned back into paper. Paper can be recycled 6-7 times before its fiber strength becomes too degraded to be recycled anymore. One fact you may not know is that recycled mixed paper is used to make the hard covers of the books we read, the game boards that adorn our tables on family game nights, and also makes up the cereal boxes that our favorite cereal is packaged in. So as you can see, mixed paper is very much a part of your life without even giving its significance a second thought.

In order for mixed paper to have this significance in your life, it has to come from somewhere. This is the part where your business comes in. Offices and even residences dispose of their mixed paper in bins or boxes to be picked up or taken to a recycling center that takes care of mixed paper recycling. This is especially great for anyone who receives junk mail since the average person receives 100 pounds of junk mail in the course of a year and that amount is almost tripled for businesses. Instead of throwing your mixed paper in the garbage can with any and all other pieces of garbage, setting up bins in which mixed paper can be disposed of can present your employees with the opportunity to contribute to a very important recycling effort.

Basic Benefits of Mixed Paper Recycling are:

  • Mixed Paper Recycling can help reduce waste disposal costs (since the Paper is removed from the waste stream).

  • Mixed Paper Recycling can generate revenues from the sale of the recycled paper.

  • Mixed Paper Recycling can reduce labor costs associated with the handling of paper during the waste disposal process.

  • Mixed Paper Recycling can help with streamlining overall waste processing operations for better productivity.

  • Mixed Paper Recycling can help with the reduction of fire hazards (due to temporary storage of paper).

  • Mixed Paper Recycling can help improve workplace safety and neatness.

If you want to delve a little further in your recycling efforts, using a baler to make bales out of your mixed paper can make it convenient for you while you’re awaiting your local recycling facility to pick up the bales. Balers are handy if your business disposes of a lot of mixed paper. Candy wrappers, waxed paper, and food wrappers do not count as mixed paper. These are actually considered contaminants. Especially if you are embarking on a mixed paper recycling endeavor in which you receive monetary compensation for the mixed paper that you give to the recycling center, you do not want contaminants co-mingled with your actual mixed paper, and the recycling facility definitely does not want to encounter these contaminants. For mixed paper, it may require either a small baler (with small bale sizes) that can hold the bales together properly or a horizontal baler. These are two extremes cost-wise as well as footprints, space, manpower and other factors that will be determined by the size and waste volume related to the recycling effort.

You may be thinking, “My office throws away so much paper.”  If so, that could be a good thing because it means that the potential for recycling the mixed paper that is thrown away on a daily basis is very good.  This potential also leads to a new way for your office to make some money off of the mixed paper that is collected for recycling. It is without a doubt that large amounts of paper can become rather frustrating, and can also be a deterrent for businesses that would be the perfect candidates for mixed paper recycling.

You don’t have to throw your mixed paper in bins or in boxes and simply let them sit around until the recycling facility makes their round to your office. This can result in loss of workspace and doesn’t really look very attractive at all. Having so much loose mixed paper can make it look like you and your employees are collecting paper rather than recycling it, so it is good to have some sort of disposal procedure in place. Instead, you can invest in a baler that will take all of that loose paper and compress it into a neatly packed bale that can hold considerably more paper than any bin or cardboard box can hold. 

In short, there are many good reasons to begin a mixed paper recycling program and there are many options available as far as preparing or packaging the materials for your local recycling facility. Recycling mixed paper is a good practice not only for business reasons but also because it is contributing to the economic use of paper. And, it is also great for the environment, which has a huge impact on our lives. Of course the monetary benefits of recycling are the primary reason why all businesses should strongly consider implementing a recycling program. If your business is not already recycling, why not at least consider it.  

Paper Recycling Equipment Considerations

There are many easy ways to understand the benefits of how recycling equipment, such as a baler, can make a difference in your mixed paper disposal practices. By baling into smaller cubes versus large loose volumes of trash it takes up considerably less space and makes it easier for your recycling facility because of the ease of pickup and transport. The prices paid for mixed paper vary from area to area and oftentimes prices will also take into consideration other factors such as who loads the bales (the recycler or you) as well as the ease or difficulty of pick-ups and so forth. If you find that a great majority of your mixed paper discards are the same material, you may want to consider taking an extra step and separating this material from the rest of the mixed paper and baling this separately. However these extra steps must justify the increased money you receive from the recycler.

Oftentimes paper recycling is better served by a small baler since the bales hold together better than they might with a larger size baler. Of course your baler size is going to determine the size bale that is produced, so in determining your baler size you will also need to consider other factors to make sure that you have the space and budget for even a small baler. Always check the baler footprint and leave an extra 2 foot perimeter (at least) around the back and sides, and much more where the bales are emptied. The second factor is how much mixed paper your business disposes of. You don’t want a baler that is larger than your disposal needs for cost and space reasons. These are just some very basic considerations to use as a starting point and as some of the most critical factors are determined (such as space and budget) it will guide many of the other decisions. 

Contributor / Editor - Matt Kennedy - Refer questions to info@wastecare.com

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