A huge proportion of the waste generated by UK businesses every year is made up of cardboard. The stacks awaiting collection can take up a lot of space, and their disposal can make a huge dent in your budget. There is also the strain on landfill sites if this cardboard is not recycled effectively and the cost to the environment when trees have to be cut down to create boxes and packaging materials.
Every year in Britain alone, cardboard weighing more than eight million tons is produced for packaging. This is the equivalent of around 140 large boxes for each person in the country. Cardboard is the single biggest component found in most municipal solid waste across the world.
The impact of this mass production on both business budgets and the environment can be alleviated, by reusing and recycling as much as possible. Recycling just one tonne of cardboard can save 17 trees, 4,100kWh of electricity and two cubic yards of space in landfill sites. There are many ways that this can be done too, benefitting both businesses and the planet.
One of the most effective ways for businesses which send and receive large amounts of packaged goods is to turn the boxes into effective and free packaging material. The Intimus Pacmaster VS packaging material shredder, for example, uses unwanted cardboard boxes to create stuffing mats to protect goods in transit.
Invest in Technology and the Environment
Use the latest packaging technology and techniques to minimise waste and ensure only the smallest amount of cardboard is used to keep goods safe. This can boost a business’s green credentials and increase customer confidence and loyalty.
Cardboard that does not have a plastic coating and is not covered in ink is highly compostable. Encourage staff to take some home for their compost heaps and think about enlisting users of local allotments. Just remember to make sure that everyone knows that the cardboard will need to be soaked in water or be shredded before it is put on the compost heap.
Shredded cardboard can be used for a whole host of tasks, which will all reduce your waste pile or reduce costs for you and others. It makes ideal insulation, either between walls or in an attic, and can provide a cosy nest for caged animals. Think about contacting your local animal shelter to see if they want some of your waste. If they do, think about sending out a press release and a photograph to demonstrate what a community-minded, benevolent business you run. Failing that, you could always use it as a mat.