Beyond Recycling: This North Philly Company Wants Retailers to Reuse Food, Drug Boxes

Jan 12, 2023 | All, News

As Impact Recycling, the decades-old Philly company is spreading beyond its block-long Luzerne Street base

Yong Kim / Staff Photographer Philadelphia InquirerFork lift operator Rafael Esquilin of Hunting Park moves pallets of recycled boxes inside the Impact Recycling Partners factory in the Hunting Park neighborhood of North Philadelphia.

This Philadelphia Inquirer article spotlights a portfolio company of Main Line Equity Partners.

Groceries and pharmacies run on acres of folded, corrugated cardboard. Food, drink and drug makers use truckloads of boxes to move their products to store shelves. When they’re done, it’s off to the recycler, the landfill, or the incinerator.

Philadelphia-based American Box & Recycling Co. is pushing an alternative approach. “Instead of baling them for the [recycling] market at $35 a ton, companies like us will pay between $100 and $200 a ton” for once-used, suitable boxes, then sell and deliver box loads to new users, through American Box’s Impact Recycling Services unit, said Brandon Spradlin, a packaging industry veteran who was named chief executive last year.

When this works, it means higher payments to manufacturers, lower costs for the next round of box users, less waste, and bigger profits for the company that puts the deals together.