OCC – Old Corrugated Cardboard

What is Old Corrugated Cardboard (OCC)?

Old Corrugated Cardboard, or OCC, is a term used within the waste management and recycling industry to denote used boxes, containers, or other packaging types. These materials are made from unbleached, unwaxed paper and feature a ruffled or corrugated inner liner.

Characteristics of OCC

OCC is easily recognizable by its characteristic wavy inner layer, also known as fluting. This corrugated design provides structural strength and rigidity, allowing boxes to hold their shape under weight and resist crushing. It also provides some level of insulation, making OCC useful for shipping temperature-sensitive items.

Uses of OCC

OCC is used in a vast array of industries worldwide, from shipping and logistics to food services and retail. Anywhere goods need to be packed, transported, or stored, you’ll likely find OCC in some form. This widespread use makes it a significant component of the global waste stream.

Recycling and Environmental Impact

One of the key aspects of OCC is its recyclability. It’s one of the most recycled materials globally, largely because of its ubiquity and the relative ease with which it can be reprocessed. When properly managed, OCC recycling can significantly reduce the demand for virgin paper pulp, thereby reducing deforestation and conserving natural resources.

The Process of Recycling OCC

The recycling process for OCC involves several stages. First, the boxes are collected and sorted. Next, they’re broken down and pulped to separate the individual fibers. This pulp is then cleaned to remove any inks, adhesives, or other contaminants. Once cleaned, it can be mixed with new pulp (if necessary) and formed into new paper products.

Despite its many benefits, OCC recycling is not without challenges. Contamination from food waste, plastic liners, or other non-paper components can complicate the recycling process. However, with responsible use and disposal, OCC can continue to play a crucial role in our global recycling efforts.


In conclusion, OCC is a ubiquitous, versatile, and recyclable material with a significant role in our daily lives and global economy. Understanding its characteristics and the importance of properly recycling this material is crucial in our ongoing efforts towards sustainable living and waste management.