Carton Recycling Access Reaches Momentous 50 Percent Milestone

Half of all U.S. households now have access to carton recycling

Jun 26, 2014, 10:00 ET from Carton Council of North America

VERNON HILLS, Ill., June 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Carton Council of North America is proud to announce that fifty percent of U.S. households can now recycle cartons through curbside and other local recycling programs. This celebratory milestone represents the tremendous industry-led effort made possible by the support of countless recycling, packaging, municipal and sustainability stakeholders.

"This milestone was achieved through industry collaboration and is the result of successful private-public partnerships," said Jason Pelz, vice president of recycling projects for the Carton Council of North America and vice president, environment, Tetra Pak North America. "Thanks to the growing list of recycling program coordinators, facility operators and recycling company representatives who have recognized firsthand the value of carton recycling and who are committed to helping increase access, we have been able to achieve tremendous, and unprecedented, growth, reaching 50 percent access in just five years. Every day, more of our customers and stakeholders get involved, and we welcome them with open arms."

"The City of Lansing is proud to be part of the Carton Council's efforts to grow carton recycling access. Providing our residents with access to carton recycling makes our program more user-friendly," said City of Lansing, Michigan, Mayor Virg Bernero. "I encourage cities nationwide to join the carton recycling movement. Being able to recycle cartons means diverting more materials from landfills and is imperative as we all strive to reach sustainability goals." 

Carton recycling access has grown a remarkable 177 percent over the last five years, starting at just 18 percent in 2009 when the Carton Council was first formed. Since then, impressive progress has been made in building infrastructure and improving access to carton recycling nationwide. 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.

While products such as aluminum cans and paper have been part of the recycling stream for years, cartons have been among the last frontier of materials to be readily recyclable. With access growing every day, cartons are quickly becoming a standard recyclable material. Since 2009, carton recycling access has been added to more than 36 million homes and is now in 77 of the top 100 U.S. cities. Today, more than 58 million homes in 46 states have access to carton recycling.

"There is no question that cartons are a growing packaging solution for many food and beverage products," said Blaine McPeak, president, WhiteWave Foods. "Because they are an environmentally friendly package, ensuring there is an infrastructure in place for Americans to recycle them is a vital piece to the sustainability puzzle."

"While we pause to celebrate the achievement of 50 percent, it's important to note that we are not done growing access," said Pelz. "Cartons belong with the rest of mainstream recycling commodities, in all recycling bins/carts and accepted in all programs, across the country. In fact, 50 percent is just one milestone for us. We envision the day when cartons are recycled everywhere and no cartons end up in landfills. It is with this ambition that we are marching full speed ahead."

Made primarily from 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. Recycling facility managers and community program officials are finding it necessary to integrate cartons into the recycling supply chain, where they are a proven valuable material thanks to their high-quality, virgin long fiber. In addition to the fiber, cartons have thin layers of polyethylene (plastic). Shelf-stable cartons also have a thin layer of aluminum to enable the product to be stored safely without refrigeration. These materials can also be recovered and recycled. 

For more information about the 50 percent milestone and the Carton Council, 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 and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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SOURCE Carton Council of North America