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Carton Recycling Access Reaches New Heights

Wednesday, January 27, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Anne Piacentino
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Source: Carton Council 

Fifty-Seven Percent of U.S. Households Can Now Recycle Their Food and Beverage Cartons

DENTON, Texas—The Carton Council of North America is proud to announce that carton recycling made great progress in 2015, with 57 percent of U.S. households now reporting access to carton recycling. Thanks to collaborative industry efforts and support from communities nationwide, 67.1 million households across 48 states can now recycle their food and beverage cartons through curbside and drop-off programs.

Since the Carton Council was formed in 2009, efforts have been focused on building the infrastructure for aseptic and gable-top carton recycling. At that time, just 18 percent of U.S. households could recycle the cartons they consumed through their local recycling programs. Fifty-seven percent represents a 217 percent increase in carton recycling access.

Metro Las Vegas, Nevada, rolled out a single stream recycling program in late 2015 that allows them to begin collecting additional recyclables, including cartons. This represents more than 700,000 new households. A sampling of other notable communities that added cartons to their local programs last year include Jefferson County, Mo.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Harrisburg, Lancaster and York, Penn.; Riverside County and parts of Orange County, Calif.; Greenville and Jacksonville, N.C.; and Roanoke, Va. In total, the number of carton recycling communities rose to 11,500, which represents 80 of the top U.S. 100 communities.

“Last year represents significant progress for carton recycling,” said Jason Pelz, vice president of recycling projects for the Carton Council of North America and vice president, environment, Tetra Pak Americas. “This is the result of many public-private partnerships coming together to help improve recycling. From communities and material recovery facilities who add cartons to their lists of accepted materials, to companies who promote recycling to their consumers, all of these efforts make recycling overall more efficient and thus more successful.”

For example, the Carton Council hosts a “Carton Recycling Champions” network comprised of 21 companies and brands that share a dedication to sustainability and realize the importance of communicating the carton recycling message to their consumers. These companies support the Carton Council’s efforts to raise the awareness of carton recycling to consumers across the nation.

“Our business model is centered on sustainability: from the product and the way it is sourced and produced, to the packaging. We selected cartons because of their environmentally sensitive profile when the entire life cycle is considered,” said Grace Jeon president and CEO of JUST, which produces JUST Water in cartons. “With greater adoption of this sustainable packaging option by manufacturers and consumers, continued progress by the Carton Council and increased education and awareness of carton recycling, we are optimistic about the future of carton recycling access.”

The Carton Council’s plans for 2016 include continuing to focus on increasing carton recycling access. “We hope that others in the recycling, packaging, and food and beverage industries recognize that cartons are a mainstream commodity and a sustainable choice,” said Pelz. Additionally, in the coming year the Carton Council will continue to support increasing recycling rates in markets where carton recycling already exists or is being added. Look for further community recycling education campaigns as well as new school lesson plans, all to help increase carton recycling.

For more information, visit

The Carton Council is composed of four leading carton manufacturers, Elopak, SIG Combibloc, Evergreen Packaging and Tetra Pak, as well as an associate member, Weyerhaeuser. Formed in 2009, the Carton Council works to deliver long-term collaborative solutions in order to divert valuable cartons from the landfill. Through a united effort, the Carton Council is committed to building a sustainable infrastructure for carton recycling nationwide and works toward their continual goal of adding access to carton recycling throughout the U.S. For more information, visit

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