The Bug Company


What: The responsible recycling of large quantities of corrugated cardboard.

Why: To improve operational flexibility while maintaining committed to the environment.

How: Partnering with several paper producers to remove and recycle their cardboard.

Results: Diverting approximately 260,000 pounds of corrugated cardboard annually.

Bug Co Front Door

The Bug Company in Ham Lake is a very unique enterprise, and as such, they have very unique recycling needs. As a result of their daily operations of breeding and caring for live insects, The Bug Company generates a lot of cardboard waste. Due to the unique nature of the business, this cardboard cannot be reused. The Bug Company needed to find an environmentally responsible and operationally sensible way to recycle large quantities of cardboard. To help them arrive at a solution, BugCo. got in touch with the Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation.

After the initial meeting with BugCo., Waste Wise spoke with several different paper producers and recyclers and put together a list of options. The Bug Company’s focus is on producing high quality organic insects and they require a lot of operational flexibility to do so. With this in mind, they chose to use several different outlets for their corrugated cardboard. Some cardboard is put on a trailer and picked up by American Paper, and when there is excess cardboard or downtime, a different trailer can be loaded and delivered to International Paper by a BugCo. employee. “Your advice has helped a great deal.” Said Hong Ji, “It has added a lot of value to us.” In the end The Bug Company is able to maintain focus on producing a high quality product without having to worry where its estimated 260,000 pounds of cardboard waste will be going.

The next step for The Bug Company is promoting recycling among its employees. Owner Sandy Davis wants to ensure recycling doesn’t stop on the insect level. Waste Wise is now working to assist in putting together a comprehensive employee recycling program so waste generated in the break room and elsewhere around the BugCo. facility is recycled responsibly. This will include choosing a waste hauler, determining appropriate sizing of bins, educating employees, improving signage, and adding recycling bins inside.

Minnesota Waste Wise continues to partner with BugCo. regarding other unique waste opportunities and hopes this relationship will last long into the future.