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  • By Lisa Cassidy, ecoImagine

The race for space in high-rise buildings: How cardboard balers manage the growing package delivery

According to Emporis, the leading provider of building and construction projects worldwide, it was around 1870 when real estate values in lower Manhattan first created the need to build up into the sky. Due to technical advances in iron framing and elevators, the first high-rise buildings were constructed. By the end of the century, Manhattan’s lower east side was one of the densest areas of high-rises in the world. Today, there are over 6,300 high-rise buildings and approximately 390,000 low-rise buildings in New York City alone.1 Yet, along with more buildings and more residents, came more trash. Each year, NYC generates more than 14 million tons of trash and spends around $2.3 billion to dispose of it.2 Although there are many efforts being made to reduce and divert waste from landfills, including Mayor Bill De Blasio’s Zero Waste Challenge, one of the growing trends working against these efforts is the massive increase in cardboard box deliveries. According to an article in the, the $350 billion ecommerce industry has doubled in the last five years.3 In Kathleen’s Jusek’s article, "The Future of Retail is Fast, Free Delivery,” Consumer psychologist, Dr. Kit Yarrow, introduced the phrase, I Want What I Want When I Want It (IWWIWWIWI) as an explanation for this growing trend. In the world of IWWIWWIWI, fast and free delivery isn’t viewed as an amenity, but rather as an expectation.3 So how do high and low-rise buildings manage the growing cardboard box invasion? The Answer: Cardboard Balers. As a building owner or property manager, it is essential to bale recyclable material – particularly cardboard and plastic (PET/film). Baled recyclable material frees up highly desirable indoor space for retail opportunities, tenants, even additional parking. It also minimizes the amount of outdoor space taken up on sidewalks on trash days. Baling recyclable material also reduces costs. Less labor is needed to manage it. Baled material is also less likely to receive fines. In many cases, baled cardboard can generate income for the owner or property manager. At a minimum, it covers the cost of the investment. Best of all, it contributes towards the Mayor’s Zero Waste Challenge while providing added value to tenants. According to Bob Frustaci, President at Premier Compaction Systems, a leading waste equipment and service provider in NY, NJ, CT and PA, “Cardboard balers are integral to high and low-rise building recycling programs. We have worked with over 300 buildings in NYC and have found that smaller footprint balers like the Orwak 3110 and 3115 and the multi chamber 5070 baler have increased staff efficiency dramatically and freed up valuable indoor space. We often have customers who will start with one baler, only to add more once they have seen the benefits first hand. Smaller footprint balers are easy to install, have no special electrical requirements and can be placed in several locations for added convenience.” Bob goes on to say, “With the increased number of cardboard box deliveries, we have seen residential buildings with 300 units go from 150 deliveries a day just a few years ago, to 700 per day in 2017.” Sometimes, it seems that the only thing that is trumping the race to the sky, is the race for space here on earth. So until retailers come up with a delivery solution that doesn’t involve excessive amounts of cardboard, it’s up to building owners and property managers to lead the race for space. I mean, if we can make it work here, we can make it work anywhere. Lisa Cassidy is founder and senior strategist at ecoImagine. 1Source: 2Source: 3Source: 4Source:

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