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The Secrets of Buying a Baler

Buying a baler can be a decision that takes many months for companies as they try to work out whether it is something that will be cost-effective with the business. Over the years, we have worked to provide balers only where there is a business case for the customer. As a recycling company first, we have been able to offer customers an objective opinion on whether a baler is going to be a worthwhile investment & we have noticed that businesses have found it very hard to quantify the return on investment from a baler.

We have written this article to help businesses make better decisions & to learn something about balers that may improve their business and to help them to make a business case for or against using a baler.

It's just a big crusher

Balers are quite simple. All they do is crush materials. Most of them do the same job &, if serviced correctly, will continue to do that job indefinitely.

More important than the baler brand is ensuring that you have the right type, size & capacity for your business.

Balers are commonly used to:

  • Compact cardboard – in this case, the baler should be selected to match the volume of cardboard you have (there’s no point having to crush & eject bales every few hours if you have a large volume of cardboard as there is increased handling effort here
  • Compact plastics – again, the baler should match the volume you have
  • Compact bar bumpers – in this case, it is important to get a baler that is big enough to handle bumpers & that has a castellated press-plate to ensure that the bumpers do not rise up again once they have been compacted
  • Baling a mixture of materials – in this case, if you have a number of waste streams with large volumes, you might want to use a twin or multi-chamber baler that enables you to use different chambers as stillages for different materials, saving space & time

In addition, businesses with larger volumes (distribution centres, warehouses, municipalities, transfer stations & shopping centres) may choose horizontal balers which can be continuously fed & can produce 25 tonnes per hour of baled material.

You may be eligible for a grant

When making capital investments, it is important to consider grant funding. There are a number of schemes available for each Local Enterprise Partnership & it is worth seeing what is on offer.

In addition, there is the Assisted Asset Purchase Scheme.

Businesses which lack a sufficient deposit to meet normal lending requirements could be eligible for a grant through participating bank’s Assisted Asset Purchase Scheme.

The scheme is supported by the government’s Regional Growth Fund, operating across England. It supports projects and programmes that are using private investment to boost the economy and sustain employment.

Maximum grants of £500,000 available for up to 20% of the asset cost for small businesses and 10% for medium-sized enterprises. Typically, one job must be created or protected for every £15,000 of grant received, up to a maximum of £500,000.

You can save landfill costs

Balers have two advantages when it comes to landfilling:

  • They can reduce your landfilling costs by enabling you to make better use of skips etc
  • They enable you to segregate & prepare recyclable materials for sale & to gain a rebate from these materials

Our rule of thumb for cost savings is that, given the right business & the right mix of waste, they should be able to reduce your landfill costs by 50-60%. Take a look at what your bills are, see what’s in your skips & see whether you think that the same applies to you.

There are a number of recyclable materials that can be baled in volume, too. These include cardboard, paper & different types of plastic. The values of these will depend upon the volume you have, the volume that’s taken in any one load & the quality of the material. This is information you can get by picking up the phone & asking someone to assess your waste – we’re happy to help here ;).

Businesses that have significant tonnages of plastic & cardboard waste each month or year can always make a baler pay.

You can save tax

With capital investments, it is important to remember that until 2015 you can claim 100% tax allowance on capital expenditure on plant and machinery, between the value of £25,000 and £250,000 total spend in a year.

You can reduce labour

A correctly specified baler will enable efficiencies to be gained by staff. The principle should be that waste should be handled as few times as possible. For customers with higher volumes, we would install balers along with trailers so that materials can be ejected & put straight onto the trailer to save unloading bales, putting them in the yard and then loading them onto a truck at a later date.

Although this won’t apply to all businesses, balers can act as stillages for material. Companies should, where possible, be using balers as the place to store materials before they are compacted rather than in separate bins. By using a baler as an oversized bin, you reduce the handling time of materials which, over time, can really mount up.

You can save space

One of the biggest advantages of balers is that they can compact materials significantly.

When taking recyclable materials away, recycling companies would ideally like those materials to be palletised & so 400 or 500kg bales of material are ideal. It’s hard to imagine what 500kg of cardboard would look like but:

A corrugated box to carry 12 beers weighs 300 grammes. A 500kg bale would contain 167 cardboard boxes.

The space that balers can save both in skips & in yards can be immense. Balers can compact materials and keep them out of your way.

It should more than pay for itself

There’s no point in paying for a baler if it can’t pay for itself. We hope that the ideas above may help you in determining whether a baler is right for your business. It’s worth bearing in mind that balers can be purchased outright or rented. For businesses that do not want to make significant investment costs, a rental may work well and, if the savings from reduced landfill costs, increased recycling rebates & staff time don’t add up, you shouldn’t buy a baler.

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