Thursday, 28th january 2021 | Circular economy
Marco Arezio - Consulente materie plastiche - What is OCC Carton and How is it Recycled

It seems a strange acronym, OCC, but the experts classify as OCC a corrugated cardboard suitable for the formation of boxes and packaging, in which the walls have the task of protecting the goods inside and assume a resistant behavior during handling and transport.

Usually it consists from two sheets of flat paper enclosing a light corrugated layer which, thanks to the vaulted shape, gives the sandwich a good resistance.

Corrugated cardboard, or OCC, is a very common element in the packaging sector and is also a product that has a high degree of recycling, in fact, according to data from Corrugated Packaging Alliance , a box made from corrugated cardboard, is made up of approximately 50% recycled material.

With the increase in micro shipments by online commerce, the quantity of corrugated cardboard in household solid waste is taking on a relevant position, without forgetting the traditional distribution and industry market.

OCC cartons can be reused or recycled creating a circularity chain that improves the environment and our lives. Among the advantages of reusing the product, we can include the saving of water that the paper mill uses to create the new paper pulp, and therefore of the energy for the process that creates CO2 and other pollutants such as sulfur or volatile organic chemicals.

In the context of OCC cardboard recycling we can mention the reduction in the use of virgin wood which is used to produce natural fibers for the paper. To make a ton of virgin cardboard, three tons of trees are needed, which suggests the importance of reusing and recycling cardboard.

As regards the OCC that is sent for recycling at the paper mills, through the collection centers, it is important that whoever delivers the cardboard to be recycled has the care remove different materials present on the boxes or boxes, which would compromise their recycling or pollute the process.

The corrugated cardboard must be flattened and packed to form uniform bales in order to reduce their volume to minimize the cost and environmental impact of handling to the centers recycling.

After the transformation of the OCC inside the paper mills, the recycled fibers will be reused, in the most suitable percentages, mixed with the virgin fibers based on the types of packaging to be made, to create new paper and cardboard packaging.

Automatic translation. We apologize for any inaccuracies. Original article in Italian.

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