How is Cardboard Recycling Done?
Recycling cardboard helps to maintain a clean, natural environment. The cardboard recycling process is described in the following steps.
1. Collecting Old Cardboard
The first step in recycling cardboard is collection. Recyclers and businesses collect cardboard from designated collection points such as trash bins, stores, scrap yards, and commercial outlets. The collected cardboard is then measured and transported to recycling facilities, usually paper mills. However, not all types of cardboard are accepted, as those that are waxed, coated, or used for food packaging may require specialized recycling processes.
2. Sorting Corrugated Cardboard
The corrugated boxes are sorted according to their materials once they arrive at the recycling facility. They are typically categorized as corrugated cardboard or boxboard. Boxboard is thinner and used for goods like cereal boxes and drink containers. Sorting is important because paper mills produce various grades of materials depending on the materials recovered.
3. Shredding and Pulping
The next step is shredding the cardboard into small pieces, which are then mixed with water and chemicals to break down the paper fibers and turn them into a slurry substance. This process is called pulping. The pulped material is then combined with new pulp, typically from wood chips, to help solidify and strengthen the resulting substance.
4. Filtering, Removing Contaminants, and De-Inking
The pulp material is thoroughly filtered to get rid of unwanted objects and contaminants like strings, tape, and glue. Contaminants such as plastics and metal staples are removed through a centrifuge-like process, where plastics float on top and heavy metal staples fall to the bottom and are eliminated.
The next step is de-inking, where the pulp is put in a floatation device with chemicals to remove dyes and ink through a series of filtering and screening. This cleaning process ensures that the pulp is ready for the final processing stage.
5. Blending, Drying, and Pressing Out Excess Water
In the final processing stage, the cleaned pulp is blended with new production materials and dried on a flat conveyor belt and heated cylindrical surfaces. As the pulp dries, it is passed through an automated machine that removes excess water and forms long rolls of solid sheets called linerboards and mediums.
The liner boards are glued together, layer by layer, to make a new piece of cardboard. Alternatively, the medium is used as the corrugated sheet, which is taken through two large metal rolls with teeth to create ridges. The linerboards are then glued to the medium to form the thin outer covering.
6. Converting to New Cardboard
The linerboards and mediums can be sent to boxboard manufacturers, where machines shape and create creases along pattern folds to produce new boxes used for packaging and transporting products.
DTG Recycle’s process for Cardboard recycling is top of the line, with the ability to better capture smaller cardboard shipping boxes.