How to Make a Cardboard Baler

by Darby Stevenson - Updated September 26, 2017
Save some space by making your own cardboard bales.

Cardboard boxes can be broken down for recycling, but if the amount is quite large, you may want a more organized way of storing and transporting the cardboard. A commercial cardboard baler consists of a vertical container to hold the cardboard, a hydraulic arm to compact the cardboard and a baling component to tie the cardboard tight. These machines, however, can be expensive to purchase if you are not a professional cardboard recycler. You can build your own simple baler with a shipping pallet and some common materials.

Measure the length of the pallet along the closed edges. This will likely be about 50 inches. Cut two of the 2-by-4s to this size.

Remove the slats from the pallet by pulling them up with the crowbar. Set the slats aside.

Lay the two cut 2-by-4s down on the ground, parallel to each other and about 25 inches apart.

Turn the pallet upside down and lay it over the 2-by-4s so that the 2-by-4s fall in the space in the middle of the pallet that used to be covered with slats.

Pound two nails through the each bottom slat and into each end of both 2-by-4s. Flip the pallet over. You should have an open pallet with four support pieces; the two edges, the central support that was there already and the 2-by-4s in between the center and the edges.

Cut the 2-by-6s with the circular saw to the height that you wish your bales to be.

Position the framing brackets on all four sides of the base of the pallet. The bottom of the bracket should touch the ground. Use the screwdriver to drill two screws into each side of the bracket.

Place the 2-by-6s in the bracket and drill three screws through the bracket in the holes provided into the 2-by-6.

Lay a large flat piece of cardboard on the baler first as this will make it easier to tie and keep the stack clean.

Fill up the baler until the cardboard reaches the height of the 2-by-6 support beams.

Place the concrete blocks on top of the pile to compact it.

Reach under the cardboard with the baling twine. Push one end of the twine through the bottom to the other side of the pallet. The twine should be under the pile of cardboard, between the central beam of the pallet and one of the 2-by-4s. Push another piece of twine through between the center and the other 2-by-4.

Grab the two ends of one piece of twine, pull them up tight and tie them in a knot on top of the pile. Repeat with the two ends of the other piece of twine. Remove the bale from the baler and pile cardboard for another bale.

About the Author

Darby Stevenson began writing in 1997 for his high-school newspaper, the "Alsea Valley Voice," which won him statewide awards for Best Feature Article and Best Personality Interview. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies from the University of Oregon.

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