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Cardboard Recycling Services

Navigation: Minimum Sustainable Recommendations | What are the Issues? | What are the Options? 

Did you know... In 2013, stewards under Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba program recovered and recycled 15,000 metric tons of paper-based packaging (e.g. corrugated cardboard, boxboard, polycoat etc).

Minimum Sustainable Recommendations

When developing bid documents for cardboard recycling services, request the following:

  • The vendor must ensure all cardboard collected is sent to manufacturers for recycling and not deposited in the landfill.
  • If you require cardboard recycling metrics, request the vendor provide weights of cardboard materials collected on the invoices on a monthly basis.
  • Request the vendor provide truck-mounted technologies such as Radio-Frequency Identification Tags (RFID), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), weigh scale, camera modules, etc and integrated software technologies to enhance collection services and reporting data.
  • If your organization is using a commodity-based recycling program, request the following:
    • Request the vendor use a commodity based approach for cardboard recycling services. The purchase price for the cardboard should be based on the weight of the material collected and the current market value, less cost to the vendor.
  • To minimize greenhouse gas emissions, the vendor must develop strategies such as:
    • Product delivery consolidations
    • Efficient transportation logistics
    • No idling of vehicles
    • Use of fuel efficient delivery vehicles
  • The intent of the carbon tax is to enhance fuel use efficiency and transition to a low carbon economy. Our organization requires transparency and prefers to compensate for carbon based on fuel usage for the hauling service and the current carbon tax rate.
    • On invoices and bills, any charge attributed to the carbon tax must be presented as a separate line item.  The service provider must provide their methodology for calculating the carbon tax surcharge.
  • Both owner-drivers and sub-contractors who undertake carboard recycling services on behalf of the tendering company must adhere to the requirements noted above.

Other Things to Consider

Optimize the type of bin system (the number and size of bins) and the vendor collection schedule to reduce costs associated with services and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the transportation of materials to the recycling facility.


What are the issues?

Businesses generate a significant amount of cardboard packaging in their daily operations. When cardboard is sent to the landfill, it creates methane gas, a greenhouse gas which has a global warming potential that is twenty-one times more than carbon dioxide.  Also, landfilling the cardboard material rather than recycling increases the reliance on forest resources. Cardboard packaging should be recycled and thought of as a commodity. Cardboard can be sent back to pulp and paper mills for re-use in paper packaging.


What are the options?

Cardboard is an easily recyclable commodity. Cardboard collected from recycling programs can be used by the paper industry to manufacture new cardboard products. Using recycled cardboard (post-consumer waste) to create new products reduces the use of forest resources, as well as the use of energy and water during the manufacturing process.  

In addition, cardboard is considered as a valuable commodity in today’s market. Businesses can separate their cardboard from their conventional mixed recycling programs and receive monetary incentives from their contracted service provider.

If your organization is looking for sustainable specifications for purchasing cardboard (paper-based packaging), please see “Paperboard Packaging” products. 


Last Updated: May 2019


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