Blue Star Auto Stores has reduced its monthly garbage bill from $850 to $150 by buying a compactor and baling the cardboard from packing materials.

The automotive retailer, with eight stores in the Chicago area, purchased and installed a compactor for $7,894. Cardboard is brought by truck from the stores to the central warehouse, then compacted into bales; the company then sells the bales for $12 to $15 each to a recycling company. "The money we make from the bales just about covers transportation, handling, and storage," says Yale Weisman, vice-president of Blue Star. "In 18 months the baler will be paid for."