Cardboard’s Big Comeback?
OCC Market Trends
The market for corrugated boxes and containers, commonly referred to as OCC (PS 11), has fluctuated greatly in the past three years. In 2017, the average price per ton was nearing record highs not seen in decades. Then, its value fell greatly in 2018-19 due to Chinese restriction of recovered paper imports, new tariffs on exports, as well as a decline in global demand. The lows felt in 2019 were below some of the markets darkest times dating back to 2009.
But, so far in 2020, cardboard is staging what could be a big comeback. OCC prices posted gains of over 25% per month in the early stages of the year. Since then, the demand for corrugated containers is back up with the supply chain boom resulting from Covid-19. A lot remains to be seen in the coming months, but the stage seems to be set for cardboard’s comeback. Some reports have OCC up over 190% from the end of 2019. You can check the status of the market through many online sources such as recyclingmarkets.net.
What Does This Mean for The Average Business Owner?
Maybe your business does not generate the volume of cardboard of larger supermarkets or big-box stores. But, with an increase in market value, even smaller business owners would be foolish not to invest in an OCC recycling program.
The investment comes in employee FTE time to collect, break down, and bale boxes. It also comes in the form of recycling equipment needed to bale the cardboard for recycling.
The good news is that not everyone needs a large mill-sized baler to operate a sustainable OCC recycling program. Smaller balers, like Harmony’s M30HD or M42BC are safe and easy to operate, provide a quick ROI, and take up little space in your facility to operate. Combined with optional leasing programs, these small balers are an affordable way to capture some of the revenue created by the uptick in the cardboard recycling market.
Harmony can help you determine which recycling baler is best for your specific needs and point you in the direction of local recyclers that are willing to pick up and pay for your cardboard bales.
Added Benefits to Recycling Cardboard
In addition to creating a new revenue stream for what was once a waste commodity in your business, recycling cardboard has other benefits that need to be considered.
- Recycling cardboard increases safety and cleanliness in the workplace.
- Recycling cardboard reduces the waste footprint produced by your business.
- Recycling cardboard reduces the number of waste hauls required each month, and thus the associated costs.
- Fewer hauls also translates to fewer carbon emissions being emitted into the atmosphere by hauling trucks.
- Businesses can avoid fines being levied by municipalities and commercial districts related to non-baled cardboard in waste areas or sidewalks.
Stay the Course
As with any market, volatility can happen at any time. But, as the graph above shows, the average price per ton of OCC over the past four years allows for a return on your investment over time.
The baler you choose should also reflect your desire to earn revenue over time. Harmony’s recycling balers are known for their longevity. They are proven to provide you with the lowest total cost of ownership. Knowing which baler is best for you can be a bit overwhelming. Let our experienced and friendly sales team assist you in making the right choice for maximum efficiency and highest return.