We are looking to invest in a machine for compressing and baling the cardboard and plastic waste generated by our nursery business. What makes or models would you recommend?

Firms often think such equipment is only appropriate for big retailers or warehouses and that a large site and easy access are needed to utilise a baler. That is not the case.
There are compact machines suitable for processing the type of packaging waste produced on a nursery. Indeed, some nurseries are already making use of balers for this purpose. Basically, a baler will take loose, recyclable products and compress them into a bundle that is bound or tied for easy handling. There are also machines called compactors, which compress materials into a container. These tend to be used for “rubbish”, including food, while balers are used for recyclable products.
Depending on the amount of waste generated and how you currently dispose of it, there is a good chance that a baler could save you money. By turning cardboard boxes and other packaging materials into bales, you immediately reduce transport costs, since most contractors’ rates are determined by the size and number of bins collected. As a rough guideline, if you spend around £25 a week — or £1,300 a year — on disposal of cardboard and other recyclable materials, you could make savings. A baler also frees up space currently used for storing boxes and could enhance the appearance of the nursery.
You can use a baler by itself or in a system with conveyors and shredders. There are two main types of balers — horizontal or vertical. The horizontal takes up more room than a vertical machine but has the advantage of a greater load capacity — suitable for 10 to 20 tonnes per week — and can be semi-automatic or automatic. Vertical balers are more likely to be single-load machines and are used on smaller facilities with low to medium volumes of waste. Usually manually operated, this is the type most likely to appeal to nurseries.
The decision to bale or not, and the choice of baler size will be determined by the types of material, the volumes of material and the potential destination for the bales. Most of the companies offering equipment can advise on suitable machines and bale disposal. In addition to direct purchase, many companies also provide contract hire, contract leasing and used or refurbished machines.
Compact & Bale, based at Tonbridge in Kent, has experience of waste packaging from horticultural enterprises. The company is a member of the Garden Centre Association (GCA). A full line-up of products is offered, from small (mini) Durapac vertical balers, capable of generating bales of 25-100kg, to large semi-automatic and automatic horizontal balers designed to bale cardboard, paper, polythene, plastic bottles, expanded polystyrene and steel or aluminium cans.
As part of a free on-site survey, the firm produces a report about disposal cost reduction, selling waste for profit, reducing handling and labour, and related health and safety issues. Contact Compact & Bale on 01732 852244 or email info@compact-and-bale.com.
Another supplier is Orwak Environmental Services of Birmingham (tel: 0121 565 7426). Also a member of the GCA, it offers a range of products, including a small top-loaded baler for baling up to 50kg of cardboard or 80kg of plastic. Larger models deal with up to 200kg of cardboard, or 300kg of plastic. The company also supplies drum crushers.

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