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Paper and Cardboard Recycling: The Waste Management Process

November 9, 2016

Paper and cardboard have endless abilities to be transformed when correctly recycled. In a bid to preserve our environment, reprocessing these materials into new products allows for saving of trees, water and landfill space; while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumed in the mechanical production of new paper and cardboard goods.

Bingo Bins is committed to ensuring waste disposal is aligned with efficient practices, especially for businesses and schools. As an exclusive partner of Planet Ark and member of Green Building Council Australia, we aim to engage in sustainable recycling efforts, with the environment at the forefront of our priority list.

Surely we are all aware of the many benefits of recycling paper and cardboard effectively, but how many know the detailed process it takes to transform these recycled goods into new products?

To narrow it down for you, we’ve broken it down into the simple, yet complex, steps:

Paper and Cardboard Recycling

What happens to recycled waste after you dispose of it?

1. The Pick Up and Drop Off

The first step in this process happens right after a special Bingo Bins truck collects waste, once placed in the correct bin. At Bingo Bins, we offer customised paper and cardboard waste management services- whether daily, weekly or monthly. Pick-ups in this case, are dependent on the management plan you have engaged with Bingo. To make the process even more efficient, especially for high turnover industries such as educational faculties and corporate offices, we do allow for regular service-schedules; or alternatively for smaller scale waste producers, on-call services.

No matter the plan, waste is collected on time, with recyclables then transported to what is known as a waste transfer facility.

We have numerous facilities around New South Wales. Loaded with advanced machinery and state-of-the-art equipment, our recovery facilities and recycling centres are fully-equipped to take on, and maintain, bulk loads of waste, recyclables or not, at any given time. Although each site may serve a different purpose, the main thing they all have in common are the efficient processes undertaken in each respective waste transfer facility.

When a Bingo truck securely enters the facility, its contents is unloaded before being placed on a conveyor belt. The fun part then begins!

What happens on a conveyor belt?

While the recyclables are travelling along the conveyor belt and being manually sorted, they are also travelling through what is known as a trommel. A trommel is a large barrel-like machine which has holes along the side to allow for larger materials to pass through. For more lightweight materials, such as paper and cardboard, transportation through the trommel is carried out through to the end, where they are then sorted.

2.The Sorting and Separating in Waste Centres

Trained Bingo staff then begin with the sorting process. To provide a more efficient and accurate approach, manual handling is the first step. This process sees the removal of any materials that may be contaminated from plastic bags to food wrapping. We pride ourselves on certification regarding Quality Management System, Environment Management System and Occupational Health and Safety Management System which is we carefully handle each process- with the safety of our staff and end receivers as a key priority.

The materials generally being sorted through may include:

  • Glass
  • Steel
  • Plastic
  • Cardboard
  • Paper


What happens to other goods after the separating?

Other goods such as steel are not disposed of, but if recyclable, are then transferred to an alternative facility (different to paper and cardboard) after being baled. Now we will narrow it down to the subject of this article, paper and cardboard.

Paper and Cardboard:

Cardboard: Boxboard vs. Corrugated

Generally, these are the two types of cardboard.

Boxboard refers to non-coated types of cardboard such as cereal boxes, which are also generally thinner. Corrugated on the other hand, refers to larger, thicker packing boxes, such as those used to transport goods.

Sorted cardboard is then soaked in a liquid mixture, responsible for creating a “pulp”- soft, shapeless mass- which is then combined with new pulp usually extracted from wood chips to help solidify the contents.

Fun Fact: Wet cardboard cannot be recycled as it can obstruct automated sorting machines. To avoid interference of the process and contamination, wet cardboard should be thrown in a bin, a Bingo bin.

Grading Paper: Categorising based on grades (not the A+ kind)
Recyclable paper is then divided based on its grade. The grade of paper depends on its fibre length, so to put things in perspective, your local newspaper is lower grade due to the fact it has been recycled several times.

Did you know? Paper can be recycled up to seven times.

Unlike cardboard, the first step following the categorization of paper is shredding. After pairing it with a liquid substance comprised of water and certain non-hazardous chemicals, the mixture is heated to further break down into fibres. Following this breakdown, the paper mixture is cleaned with de-inking also taking place. When the fibres being to start bonding and the paper begins to dry, it is then suitable to turn into new products.

3.The Waste Centre Transfer and Aftermath:

Following the sorting and separating, paper and cardboard waste are then able to be transferred to their respective facilities where they can be turned into new products.

Before they are turned to new products however, the baling takes place.

In the baling process, the materials are bundled together into a tightly compressed form. Sometimes, we can even bale these resources in as small as a quarter of their original space.

What can recyclable materials be turned into?

Your everyday products are manufactured using 100% recyclable materials. Here is a snapshot of only some of the useful resources used on a daily basis made from environmentally-friendly products:

Magazines –> Newspaper
Newspaper –> Egg cartons
Mixed Paper –> Paper tower rolls
Corrugated Cardboard –> Paper bags



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