Material Focus: Shredding of Corrugated Paper and Cardboard Cores

Corrugated paper, also known as corrugated cardboard, is a type of material used in packaging and shipping. It consists of three layers: two flat outer layers and a wavy inner layer called fluting. This structure provides strength and cushioning, all while being lightweight, making it ideal for protecting items during transportation, and widely used for packaging boxes. The biggest benefit corrugated paper has, though, is its ability to be recycled, and that requires shredding!

What is corrugated paper?

The strength in corrugated paper primarily comes from its unique structure, which consists of two flat layers (called liners) adhered to a fluted (ridged) layer in between. This structure creates a series of air columns that provide strength and rigidity while also allowing for flexibility. Additionally, the materials used in making corrugated paper, such as high-quality paperboard or kraft paper, contribute to its strength and durability.

Closeup view of roll of brown corrugated cardboard.

a pile of cardboard boxes

Shipping boxes

Where is it not used???
Corrugated paper is highly common in modern packaging and shipping industries. It is widely used across various sectors for packaging goods and materials due to its lightweight, durable, and versatile nature. Some common applications of corrugated paper include:

Used for...

  • Shipping boxes: Corrugated paper is used to manufacture shipping boxes of various sizes and shapes to transport goods safely from manufacturers to retailers and consumers.
  • E-commerce Packaging: With the rise of online shopping, corrugated paper is extensively used for packaging products ordered online, providing protection during transit.
  • Retail Packaging: Corrugated paper is used for retail displays, product packaging, and point-of-sale displays due to its customizable design and printing capabilities.
  • Food Packaging: Corrugated paper is used in food packaging to protect perishable items during shipping and storage. It is often used for packaging fruits, vegetables, and other food products.
  • Industrial Packaging: Corrugated paper is used in industrial packaging for transporting heavy machinery, automotive parts, and other industrial goods.

The Recycling Process of Corrugate

One of the best aspects of corrugated paper and cardboard is its ability to be recycled and reused. After it’s collected and sorted, it goes through a process known as pulping. Pulping involves soaking the paper in water to break it down into fibers. This step helps removes any inks, adhesives, or contaminants from the paper fibers. After pulping, the paper materials are reprocessed and ready for reuse. But before all this, it must go through… shredding!

pulping of cardboard waste

Paper scrap dissolution in the pulper with rope

WEIMA WLK 1500 shreds paper and cardboard for easy2cool in Lichtenfels

Discover how this Munich-based start-up, easy2cool, is revolutionizing sustainable practices with an innovative use for paper waste. Leveraging the power of a WEIMA WLK 1500 Shredder, they transform discarded corrugated cardboard packaging into revolutionary and eco-friendly insulating elements.

easy2cool uses ecological cooling boxes and paper-based insulated packaging and for temperature-sensitive packages, like food!

Check out the story here

Why Shredding Makes a Difference.
Reprocessing corrugated paper is extremely important, and the process begins with shredding! Shredding plays a crucial role in the recycling process of corrugated paper, offering several benefits:

Size Reduction: Shredding corrugated paper helps break it down into smaller pieces, making it easier to handle and process in subsequent recycling steps. Smaller pieces can be more efficiently pulped and transformed into new paper products.

Separation of Contaminants: Corrugated paper often contains various components such as adhesives, inks, and contaminants. Shredding helps loosen and separate these components from the paper fibers, facilitating their removal during the pulping process. This separation improves the quality of the recycled paper and reduces the presence of impurities in the final product.

Increased Surface Area: Shredding increases the surface area of the paper, allowing for better exposure to water and chemicals during pulping. This enhanced surface area promotes more effective fiber disintegration and helps extract ink and adhesive residues from the paper fibers, resulting in cleaner pulp.

Energy Efficiency: Shredding corrugated paper into smaller pieces requires less energy during the pulping process compared to processing whole sheets or larger pieces. This energy efficiency translates to reduced operating costs and environmental impact associated with recycling.

Versatility: Shredded corrugated paper can be easily blended with other types of paper fibers or recycled materials to create customized paper products with specific properties. This versatility allows manufacturers to tailor recycled paper to meet the requirements of different applications while maximizing resource utilization.

close up of shredded cardboard bales in a warehouse

Cardboard cores

Cardboard cores, much like corrugate, are widely utilized and indispensable in various daily applications. They are frequently employed in paper towel and toilet paper rolls, as well as in shipping materials. These cores undergo a similar recycling and reuse process, necessitating pre-shredding before pulping and decontamination.

close up of cardboard cores

Cardboard cores

three rolls of cardboard cores

WEIMA WLK 1500 shreds cardboard rolls in seconds!

Check out the WEIMA WLK 1500

The Sustainable Conclusion

Corrugated paper remains a staple material in the packaging industry due to its cost-effectiveness, versatility, and eco-friendly properties. Overall, shredding corrugated paper enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of the recycling process, contributing to the sustainable management of resources and the reduction of waste in the environment.

Machinery for shredding corrugated paper WEIMA Paper shredders