The Carton Council of North America has reported that carton recycling access continued to grow significantly in 2014, thanks to collaborative industry efforts and support from communities nationwide. Access expanded to an additional three states, as well as 6.1 million households across the country, and now more than 53% of households across 48 states can recycle their food and beverage cartons through local curbside recycling and drop-off programs. This momentum is continuing through 2015, as more than 500,000 new households were added to the count in January alone.

Over the past six years, carton recycling access has grown 194%, and now more than 62.4 million U.S. households can recycle cartons through their community recycling programs. Since 2009, the Carton Council, a group of carton manufacturers united to deliver long-term collaborative solutions in order to divert valuable cartons from the landfill, has worked with recycling industry stakeholders and communities to build infrastructure and improve access to carton recycling nationwide.
“It is clear by our continued progress that carton recycling is becoming more mainstream across the country,” says Jason Pelz, vice president of recycling projects for the Carton Council of North America and vice president, environment, Tetra Pak North America. “Carton packaging is increasing in popularity across different categories, and consumers expect to be able to recycle them.”

The Carton Council commitment to growing access takes a holistic approach. This includes technical assistance, grants where and when they are needed and consumer education support. These pieces fit together to help prevent cartons from going to landfills.

“More communities and recycling sorting facilities are seeing the value that cartons bring to their programs, including added convenience for residents and access to high-quality fiber with ready end markets,” says Pelz. 

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 food and beverage products. Including cartons as an accepted material in every community recycling program offers a better, more cost-efficient option than other proposed recovery solutions.