The Carton Council of North America ( has been awarded the 2013 First-Place National Award from Keep America Beautiful (KAB, for its community improvement efforts surrounding increasing access to recycling in the Waste Reduction/Recycling category in the Business/Professional Organization group.

“We recently reached a new milestone in increasing access to carton recycling, bringing the total number of U.S. households with access to more than 56.6 million. That’s a 165% increase in access since our efforts began in 2009,” says Jason Pelz, vice president, environment, Tetra Pak North America, and vice president of recycling projects for the Carton Council of North America. “On behalf of our industry collaborators, we are pleased to have this success and our efforts recognized by Keep America Beautiful.”

The Carton Council is a group of carton manufacturers united to deliver long-term collaborative solutions in order to divert valuable cartons from the landfill. Thanks to collaborative industry efforts and support from communities nationwide, 73 of the 100 largest U.S. cities and more than 48% of U.S. households can now recycle cartons.

Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s leading nonprofit that builds and sustains vibrant communities, presented the award during its recent National Conference in Charlotte, N.C., where KAB affiliate leaders from across the country met to share best practices and celebrate their successes of the past year. The Keep America Beautiful National Awards are open to KAB affiliates, government agencies, nonprofit or civic organizations, and youth groups or schools for program activities in the past year.

“It’s my privilege to honor the Carton Council and celebrate its dedication to engaging volunteers in activities that help communities become more socially connected, environmentally healthy and economically sound,”  says Jennifer Jehn, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful.

 Made mainly from paper, a renewable resource, lightweight and compact in design and with a low carbon footprint, cartons have proven to be a sustainable packaging solution that is growing in use for a variety of liquid and food products. Including cartons as an accepted material in local curbside recycling programs offers a better, more cost-efficient option than other proposed recovery solutions, and is a needed component for communities interested in achieving Zero Waste goals.