What’s Wrong with Asian Cardboard?

Recycling Rules

What is Asian?
The production of boxes overseas varies greatly from boxes made in the U.S. – the main difference being the fiber yield. Non-Domestic, also referred to as Asian OCC,  is made of lower fiber quality due to virgin fiber shortages in those countries, often times is has already been recycled many times. This leads to weaker material that is less resistant to water and drastically lowers the fiber quality.

Why is it a problem?

Fiber mills have to treat Non-Domestic OCC similar to mixed paper. At Millennium, we try to manage the amount in each load sent to mills to ensure it will be accepted. Depending on the amount in the load, it may be downgraded by the mill or even be rejected.

Where does it come from?

Due to many products being shipped from Non-Domestic countries, many retailers generate a large percentage of Non-Domestic boxes.

How can you spot it?

You can usually identify Non-Domestic OCC by the grayish color, or  by ripping it – it tears apart very easily and is full of short fibers. It may look similar on the outside, but the bottom line is the shorter the fiber, the weaker the board.

What should you do with it?

You can recycle Non-Domestic OCC with your OCC loads, but excess amounts may result in a lower grade. If you are concerned about lowering the value of your OCC, it can be recycled in the single stream instead.