Baling waste – Ceco MiniPak

Ceco MinPakA couple of years ago, I decided to find a practical waste baler to use on construction sites as invariably the first thing that comes up with standard “mains” balers is “We don’t use 240v on site”. And yes, you can get 110/120v versions of most of these as well for use in other countries, but rarely are they designed for outdoor use anyway.

In my search I came across the Ceco MiniPak baler – a small, portable, lightweight (48kgs), weatherproof hand baler that can produce decently-compacted small bales without needing a power supply, or any special training. Although the manufacturers claim bales up to 35kg can be achieved with light plastic film, I tend to think in terms of limiting bales to 20kg to avoid manual handling issues. With a finished size of  440mm x 360mm x 650mm, bales have a volume of fractionally over 1/10th of a cubic metre, giving a density of around 200kg/m3, ie 8-10 times that of loose plastic film.

At this density, an 8 yard (6 cubic metre) skip will hold probably 1 tonne or more of cardboard & plastic, the asset values of which should at least offset any skip costs giving you a free skip, and if the material being baled is clean and good quality, could result in a credit in the same way metal skips do. Note that as the bales are NOT “mill standard” you won’t get the credit value of the materials you may find quoted on the open market, but you ought to be expecting to be getting about 50% or more of “mill” – which for clean “natural” plastic film can be as high as £300 – £400 per tonne. (There’s also no reason why you shouldn’t mix cardboard & plastic bales in a single skip for transport purposes as long as each bale only contains one material – it’s easy to separate at the other end.)

As the baler is on wheels and easily transportable, it’s practical to use it wherever the plastic or cardboard waste is being generated, turning packaging directly into bales wherever fittings are being unpackaged, and keeping the packaging as clean as possible to maximise its asset value to a recycler. Once baled it is also easier to move around the site without causing litter, and minimising litter risk from the skips themselves.

(To visit the Ceco website, just click on the image)

Note: Ceco are based in Ireland, and are currently looking for distributors and stockists for this product in the UK.