How Cardboard Bale Recycling Works in the United States?

March 14, 2023

United States Cardboard Recycling Guide


Recyclable baled cardboard is essential for reducing packaging waste and recovering this valuable resource. More than 90% of the goods shipped in the United States and around the world are packaged in cardboard, which is by far the most popular packaging material.

How Does Baling Cardboard Work?


When loose cardboard is compacted in a baler, it becomes a bale of cardboard. Baling chambers are initially used to load cardboard. In order to make a cardboard bale, it is rammed by a hydraulic press and manually tied with nylon strings or wire, resulting in a uniform bale of uniform size and weight.

Here you will find out the cost of a bale of cardboard, what influences cardboard’s recycling value, what type of cardboard is good for recycling, and more!

Prices per ton for cardboard bales

Can you tell me how much cardboard costs per ton? The cash value of cardboard recycling is as follows:

A load of 6 large bales of cardboard will pay you about $300 – $540, not bad for a load of about 50 – 90 bales at about $0.05 – $0.09 per pound in 2022. Our recommendation is to check with your local recycling center before purchasing a bale because the price can vary depending on where you live.

What is the weight of a bale of cardboard?

There is a range of prices per weight of baled cardboard, ranging from 800 pounds to 1000 pounds (400 kilograms to 500 kilograms). Depending on your local recycling center, here is what you should expect for recycled cardboard prices 2022. It is important to keep in mind that baled cardboard recycling prices are constantly fluctuating and can differ significantly from one state to another. Getting recycled cardboard prices from your local recycling center is the best way to find out what it’s worth

The best way to get the best cardboard price is to contact at a couple nearby cardboard recycling centers. The price of baled cardboard is about 30% higher than that of loose cardboard. The recycling machine can process baled cardboard more easily since it takes up less space.

Consider baling cardboard and leasing or purchasing a baling machine if you need to dispose of large amounts of cardboard (over 10 tons per month). You can make a profit after labor and collection expenses if you need to dispose of more than 10 tons of cardboard per month by leasing a downstroke baler.

Broken wires will be considered loose cardboard if a bale is received at the recycling center. The wires should always be kept on pallets during loading, unloading, and transport in order to prevent damage.

Can you recycle all types of cardboard?


Almost all cardboard can be recycled, except for cardboard contaminated with oil, grease, or fabric or plastic. In general, pizza boxes and packages decorated with different materials cannot be recycled.

Recycling cardboard should generally follow these steps:

  • It is not possible to recycle wet cardboard.
  • Oil and grease should not be contaminated.

What is the best way to recycle cardboard? Should I bale it? Only baled cardboard is accepted at some recycling centers.

Is it necessary to remove the tape from the cardboard before recycling it? As a general rule, you can keep the tape on since it can be easily removed once the cardboard is soaked in water to begin the recycling process.

Our sustainability can be improved and our environmental impact can be reduced by recycling cardboard. To produce cardboard packaging, we need to cut fewer oxygen producing trees, and we’ll send less waste to landfills as a result. Sustainable lifestyles and preserving the environment for future generations are moral imperatives. One of the three pillars of sustainability is improving environmental sustainability through cardboard recycling.

Business owners have a responsibility to reduce waste as part of their environmental responsibilities. Additionally, depending on where the company operates, there might be government regulations that require the company to limit waste and recycle packaging materials. In addition, recycling cardboard may be regulated differently in different areas, so be sure to check with your local recycling center for details.

Is it possible to bale any type of cardboard?

There are a variety of cardboard materials that can be bales, including corrugated fiberboards, paperboards, and the heavy-duty paper products used in packaging.

Corrugated Fiberboard: What Is It?


For shipping goods, corrugated fiberboard is commonly used. Due to its lightweight nature, resistance and ease of recycling, this type of cardboard is extremely popular.

Depending on the level of protection and strength of the box that needs to be shipped, corrugated fiberboard typically has 3 to 7 layers of strong paper:

  • Three-layered cardboard: it has only one wall. Corrugated middle layer provides improved impact protection.
  • Double-wall cardboard. The paper is made up of 5 layers, of which 2 are corrugated. In addition to offering more impact resistance, they are also more bend resistant.
  • Triple-wall cardboard. There are seven layers of paper, three of which are corrugated. You can even replace wood crates with those strong boxes.



You may need to use a stronger baling wire depending on the type of cardboard you are baling. The baling wires will be more stressed if you want to bale triple wall cardboard, since its triple corrugated layers will cause much more stress when compressed.



There are a variety of paperboard options, from brown to bleached, white-lined to glossy, and it is a very popular option for packaging. Colour printing is also possible on this material and can be used to create boxes or protective inserts.

A corrugated fiberboard box offers more protection than a polyethylene box, so it’s mostly used for packaging individual products or components.

It is possible to bale paperboard separately or in conjunction with corrugated fiberboard cardboard. Corrugated fiberboard may require stronger wires when baling when compared to paperboard, so be sure to use stronger wires based on the amount and type of fiberboard you want to include in the same bale.

What Next?

By promoting recycling whenever possible, everyone can reduce cardboard waste, which is essential for sustainable development.

Additionally, baling cardboard and shipping it to local recycling centers can be a profitable side hustle, or even part of your main business. Cardboard is a very valuable recycling material, so cardboard bale recycling can pay quite well! You can make good money recycling cardboard bales while helping the environment at the same time.

The final step is to contact a local or nationwide baled cardboard collection service if you need one. It is also possible to receive cardboard bale collection services at no freight charge in some cases.

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