Transport packaging

Recycle transport packaging

Guide

Most clean transport packaging materials can be either sold or removed free of charge. Recycling businesses or waste-exchange can ensure your transport packaging is successfully recycled.

How to recycle your transport packaging

It is important to correctly prepare your transport packaging for recycling.

  • Separate wastes effectively at the source. This reduces contamination, eg from tape, labels, staples and chemicals. Use colour-coded boxes to allow easy separation of transport packaging materials. Make sure that these boxes are close to the waste-producing process and make staff aware of where they are.
  • Empty and/or clean packaging carefully. This will improve the percentage of the transport packaging being taken for reconditioning or recycling. This can make packaging ordinary waste rather than hazardous waste.
  • Avoid using mixed materials, eg metal or plastic closures on a cardboard box. This should make it easier to carry out recycling. Single material designs are desirable for recycling.
  • Clearly mark the packaging. Indicate what types of material are used in your transport packaging so that materials can be separated more easily from mixed waste streams. Plastics can be embossed with the appropriate symbol to eliminate the need for a separate label.
  • Consider whether you can compost the packaging, eg paper and board can be mixed with garden waste to produce quality compost. Your local council or waste management contractor may be able to take your transport packaging waste for composting.
  • Clean contaminated packaging materials. This can increase their value. Careful storage in covered and clearly labelled skips and bins can ensure that materials do not become mixed or contaminated by other materials, water or food (which can attract vermin). Wet paper loads may be rejected by recyclers because they are difficult to handle.
  • Bulk up loads. Recycling may not be economical for sites with low quantities of materials. However, you can increase tonnages by bringing material from several sites through back-haulage in vehicles used for delivery to a central point. Larger tonnages in one place are far more attractive to recyclers.
  • Check your packaging is being recycled. You should request information from your contractor which proves that your transport packaging waste is being recycled and not sent to landfill.

You should make sure you handle materials for recycling properly. You may need authorisation to deal with transport packaging waste from other businesses.

Transport packaging waste exchange

Invest Northern Ireland's Industrial Symbiosis Service works directly with businesses to match wasted resources with resource needs. Your transport packaging could be a valuable raw material to another local business. Find out more about the Industrial Symbiosis Service and upcoming free resource matching workshops.

Transport packaging and producer obligations

If your business handles more than 50 tonnes of packaging in a calendar year and has a turnover of more than £2 million then the producer responsibility obligations applies to your business.