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Concord Mill Mall with Orwak 3115.png

If you’re a Facility Manager, Recycling Manager or Superintendent, you know that small footprint balers are ideal for small spaces and indoor use. They are often more affordable than larger balers and have lower costs of ownership. But when it comes to choosing a small baler, how do you know which has the best ROI and which will withstand the test of time?

 Just last month, Holly Elmore of Elemental Impact, published an independent study titled, “Comparative Case Study: Plastic Film Recycling at Two Simon Malls” showing the results of two different, small footprint balers. This study compared a “mini” Orwak 3115 compact baler to a “larger” small footprint Mil-tek 509HD baler for the 2015 calendar year.

Spoiler Alert

For those who have experienced decades of success with Orwak Compacts, the results will not surprise you. Not only do you know how well Orwak Compacts stand the test of time, you know how big the savings can be. For those of you that don’t own an Orwak baler and still believe that bigger is better, read on.

If you pressed for time, here are the results:  The Orwak 3115 outperformed the Mil-tek 509HD tenfold despite producing bales one quarter to one fifth the size. Booyah!

About the Locations

SouthPark Mall is a 1.5 million square foot mall with 160 tenants.  On average, the SouthPark Mall’s recycling program generates 70,000 to 75,000 pounds of plastic film annually. For this case study, SouthPark Mall tested a 60-inch Mil-tek 509HD baler. This baler makes bales weighing 800-950 pounds. 100% of the tenants participated in the mall recycling program. Bales were picked up every 2 months by a recycler.

The Concord Mills Mall is a 1.4 million square foot mall with approximately 200 tenants.  The Concord Mills Mall generated 60,000 to 70,000 pounds of plastic film annually, with 90% coming from tenants.  A “mini” Orwak 3115 Compact Balerwas selected for this location because of its quiet operation. The Orwak 3115 Compact compresses plastic film into 150-175 pound bales. Six to 10 bales were generated weekly and transported to a storage facility at the mall (at no additional cost to the mall) where it was picked up by a recycling company every five weeks.

In both cases, the malls recycled the following plastic film types: clear garment packaging, shrink wrap, packaging pillows, colored film and trash bags. The recycler allows colored film mixed with the clear.

The Results are In

After a year of testing, SouthPark Mall sold 72,500 pounds of baled plastic film for an average of $.05 per pound resulting in $3,625 in rebates. Concord Mills sold 65,500 pounds of baled plastic film at an average of $0.05 per pound resulting in $3,275 in rebates for Concord Mills. When you adjust for the volume difference, it is a dead heat. However, there is more to this story.  In the end, the cost of ownership lead to some very clear differences in that ultimately effected the ROI of each machine.  

Concord Mills Mall saved an additional $1000 annually over SouthPark Mall in landfill and tipping charges, $1300 in lease payments and over $1500 in other expenses i.e. bags, straps, etc.  Once these additional savings were calculated in, the clear winner was the Orwak 3115 at Concord Mills Mall with a net annual profit of $3,790.

SouthPark Mall’s annual net profit was $380, thus the savings generated from the “mini” Orwak 3115 baler was approximately 10 times that of the larger Mil-tek 509HD baler

When you consider that there are approximately 47,000 shopping centers in the United States (1,100 classified as enclosed malls), the Orwak “mini" Compact baler can have a pretty BIG impact despite its small footprint.

Built to Last

If you are looking for a workhorse for your small storage space, look no further. The Orwak 3115 Compact Baler is one of the most durable balers in the market.  Orwak balers are built to high ISO standards. Orwak is certified according to ISO 9001 (quality management), 14001 (environmental management) & 3834 (a special standard for welding typically associated with heavy steel construction and the automotive industry.)

Over a decade ago, Peter Miller purchased his first Orwak baler for his McDonald's in Flushing Queens, New York.  According to Peter Miller, “We were thrilled to find the Orwak 3100. It’s a workhorse that’s as easy as a home refrigerator to roll in and set up. In 11 years, we’ve never had it serviced, and it still looks brand new...I wish everything was built like an Orwak Baler.” 



Video: Hear from Peter Miller, Proud Owner of an Orwak Compact 

Flushing New York McDonald's

This Flushing, New York McDonald's has been baling cardboard for over a decade. They simply bale the cardboard and wait for bales to be picked up for free. No other costs. No maintenance on his Orwak baler ever.


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