Earth Day is a busy time of year for recycling professionals. Organizing household hazard waste drop-offs, recycling tours and other events designed to get much-deserved attention around recycling are a priority. However, so is ensuring your recycling program is as profitable and beneficial as possible. This Earth Day, the Carton Council ( encourages communities to join the movement to include cartons in local recycling programs.

Cartons are highly recyclable and are a growing commodity. In the first quarter of 2013, almost 1.8 million new households gained access to carton recycling, ensuring that over 50 million U.S. households now have access to carton recycling.

Cartons can now be recycled in 62 of the 100 largest U.S. cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, with more coming on board all the time.

“On behalf of the Carton Council, we are trying to make recycling professionals aware of how they can benefit from adding cartons to their programs,” says Jason Pelz, vice president, environment, Tetra Pak North America, and vice president of recycling projects for Carton Council of North America. “Cartons can help communities reach their diversion or Zero Waste goals faster, save costs on landfill tipping fees and/or earn revenue through the sale of baled cartons.” 

“Adding cartons gives communities a new reason to remind their residents about the recycling program and the importance of participating,” says Phil Bresee, recycling director, City of Philadelphia. “The use of cartons continues to grow, and we need to target them and other emerging recyclables in order to increase our diversion rates.”  

“The quality coming from cartons is high,” says Sarah Kite, director of recycling services for Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation. “In Rhode Island, we’ve actually been recycling cartons for close to 20 years. The end market has been a consistent and stable source of revenue.”

The fiber that comes from cartons is high-quality. In fact, a new PSI specification grade, #52, was recently created for cartons. Status as a Paper Stock Industry (PSI) commodity grade is only granted when industry demand and commodity value justify it.