Frequently Asked Questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Corrugated Quick Facts?

Corrugated boxes are used to house and protect a wide variety of goods ranging from glass to paper and plastic products to hazardous materials.

Corrugated sheets are made up of a minimum of three layers, and form a sandwich. Top and bottom layers are made of dense paper that varies in weight depending on the desired strength. The inner layer is dense fiber that looks like a ruffle or corrugated.

Corrugated is engineered for stacking product. It withstands top and side pressure, is crush-resistant and passes burst strength tests before approval for use.

Corrugated Packaging is highly designable, with the ability to be cut and folded into an infinite variety of shapes and sizes, and to be printed with colorful, high-quality graphics.

Q. Does United Container Company buy used cardboard boxes, packaging, shipping boxes and new corrugated cardboard boxes and packaging materials?

United Container buys and sells used cardboard boxes, packaging, shipping boxes and new corrugated cardboard boxes and packaging materials.

Q. Gaylords / Food Totes

Gaylords are a 4 sided or octagonal, pallet sized heavy-duty box. Businesses most commonly receive plastic pellets in them. They are usually 3 to 4 layers thick, and hold from 1,000 – 2,000 pounds. Generally, they come with attached flaps on the bottom and a lid on top.

Food Totes are similar to the plastic industry boxes, except they usually had food in them.

We look for the following when making a purchase:

Four sided or octagon with attached flaps on at least the bottom of the gaylord. These are the most marketable. Flaps on top are also welcome.
Containers are preferably once used.
Should be in reusable condition flaps are intact, no sections of the walls cut out, no holes in the sides.
Little to no residue if they come from the plastics industry.
No leftover ingredients when coming from the food industry.
Half to full truckload quantities (200-450 gaylords).
We have a very limited market for tubes (pallet containers with no flaps attached on the top or bottom), so please call us if you have these as well.

As with all corrugated we purchase, we will handle the logistics, and cover the freight costs, unless otherwise negotiated.

Q. New Obsolete Corrugated Recycling

New boxes that are unused, but obsolete are also considered OCC material to recyclers.

An obsolete carton is the most common new material we buy, as it comes from nearly all manufacturing and fulfillment industries. This box was most likely intended for shipment of your finished product, but for whatever reason, they were not used.

We look for the following when purchasing new boxes:

All cartons are stored in a dry place.

Quantities range from 500 pieces minimum to full truckload amounts.

We pay premium dollar values over OCC!

Our vendors made an average of 66% over the recycling market value during the last 24 months!

We also use our own trucks to pick up all loads of boxes within our primary service area, and turn to outside carriers to collect all others. We co-ordinate logistics, and pay for transportation costs unless negotiated with our vendors ahead of time. Pick up time is generally 1-7 business days from the time we make a purchase.

Our primary markets are for corrugated. However, we have had recent success finding markets for chipboard and paperboard boxes as well. Please call or email us if you have these items too, and a recycling representative will assist you.

Q. Recycling and Environmental Impact?

Corrugated recycling and reuse has been practiced in the United States since the 1880’s.

Over 75% of corrugated boxes are recycled, giving corrugated one of the highest recycling rates of any packaging material used today.

Due to its durability and comparatively low reprocessing costs, it holds a relatively high value, and is a resource we should not waste.

Q. Used Corrugated

We buy used corrugated in its pre-baled state primarily from the following groups:

Used Boxes: Recycling and Paper Stock Dealers

Most commonly, we purchase used boxes that are in reusable condition. If you were getting this material in you would probably see loose cartons and bale them. Generally they are viewed as part of a river of corrugated that is sent to a mill in order to fill a tonnage commitment. We, on the other hand, see them as a potential source of corrugated that can be used again. Mostly we send them off to be used as boxes, but sometimes they get cut down into pads or shredded into void filler.

So, what can we do for you? We’ll help you with the set up phase of implementing a used-box recycling program, provide logistical support, and pay more than what you can get from a mill. Once the initial phase is complete, all you have to do is sit back and collect your check. The best part of this is that over the last 24 months, we have paid an average 66% more than the mills for usable corrugated material! In addition to buying used boxes, we also purchase new obsolete boxes, sheets and trays as well as gaylords in half truck load to truck load quantities, depending on location.

In certain instances, we can and do park trailers at a business for immediate off loading. In the end – no matter what you sell us – you all make more money, your customers will make more, and we can take the logistical burden off your shoulders. We already do business with quite a few companies in the paper stock industry, and would like to include you as well.

If you want more information, or to sell material to us, just call or send an email, and a recycling representative will assist you.

Used Boxes from General Manufacturing / Contract Packaging

Old Corrugated Cardboard (OCC) is one of the most commonly found materials in commercial and industrial waste streams. It is also one of the easiest materials to reduce at the source, reuse, and recycle.

Reducing cardboard waste can save you money. Because cardboard is so bulky, its removal from the waste stream can dramatically reduce the number of waste dumpsters, the size of them, and/or the number of pickups needed. If you pay by volume or pick up, selling your once used cartons will actually save you money while generating revenue from the sale!

Our process is simple, costs virtually nothing, and generates revenue fast.

Heres why:

We create a higher economic value for the boxes. We use the boxes as cartons, but we also make dividers, pads, and packing material from them. That is how we pay more than conventional recyclers. We are looking to buy brown corrugated boxes. These may have contained additional packaging materials like fiberboard boxes, ingredients, or components (caps, closures, bottles, etc). We even buy gaylords and totes. If you’re recycling these cartons in a conventional program or paying to haul them away, then you’re throwing away potential money!

If you would like more information about what we buy, or our services, just call 800-253-2840 or email us, and a recycling representative will assist you.

Q. What geographic area does United Container Company service, how far will you ship packaging, shipping boxes and cardboard?

United Container Company will drop off and pick up boxes, packaging, shipping boxes and cardboard boxes in the following major metropolitan areas; Chicago, IL, Milwaukee, WI, Detroit, MI, Grand Rapids, MI, Flint, MI, Lansing, MI, Ann Arbor, MI Indianapolis, IN, Ft Wayne, IN Toledo, OH, Cleveland, OH, Columbus, OH, Dayton, OH Pittsburg, PA.  United Container Company will also drop off and pick up boxes, packaging, shipping boxes and cardboard boxes in the following major geographic areas, Midwest, Southeast, Northeast and Plains.

Q. Why UCC?

“When you throw boxes away, or use an expensive baler, you’re throwing away thousands of dollars of additional revenue every year!”

Recycling Your Corrugated With United Container

We buy both new and used cartons, including gaylords, from a wide variety of companies in North America. If you have new obsolete or used cartons cluttering your warehouse racks and floors, we can remove them from your facility, pay you for what we take, and we cover the transportation costs!

In the event you have used cartons to sell, we employ a simple recycling program that we’ll help you set up quickly at your facility.

If you’re interested in what we buy, just click on a link for more specific information, send us an email, or call 1-800-253-2840 and ask for a recycling representative.


Need new, plain shipping boxes? We have them for you in stock and ready for immediate shipment. Just place your order online now. The more you order, the more you’ll save! But even one bale will beat U-line’s best catalog pricing. Plus, those other online shipping guys can’t compete with our low, low, low everyday prices! And we’ll deliver your new boxes to you fast!

Frequently Asked Questions
St. Joseph, Michigan 49085
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19154
Memphis, Tennessee 38127
Hours: 8AM-5PM Eastern Time, M-F
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