Carton Capitals


By Carla Fantoni

Since the Carton Council first formed in 2009, our approach has been centered on collaborative partnership and industry engagement. We have worked closely with material recovery facilities, paper mills, county and municipal governments, and state recycling organizations and other industry organizations. By working together, we have been successful at increasing the number of US households that can recycle food and beverage cartons through their local recycling programs. And now, we are setting our sights on capital cities with a new campaign initiative, called Carton Capitals.

Currently, 27 capital cities, and the District of Columbia, accept cartons in their recycling programs, which accounts for 2.89 million households. (Check out the full list of carton capitals here.)

Why focus on capitals? We know they are influencers. We know they set the tone for their entire state. And we know their behavior is modeled in other cities, who look to them for best practices and inspiration.

As an industry we are working hard to increase carton recycling in the US. Capital cities are critical to our goal. And, for every capital city that adds cartons to their listed of accepted materials, alongside other mainstream commodities like aluminum cans and newspapers, we won’t just gain more recyclers in that city—which is by itself a positive step—we will potentially gain recyclers across that entire state. Imagine the impact this can have when you consider that 23 capital cities that do not yet recycle cartons.

Through the Carton Capitals campaign, we will also be celebrating capitals that already recycle cartons, like Lansing, Michigan, whose mayor is an advocate for carton recycling, as well as many others. It’s never been a better time to recycle cartons and we hope that every capital city sees and realizes the benefits of carton recycling.

Carla Fantoni is vice president of communications for the Carton Council of North America and vice president, communications, for Tetra Pak. She can be reached at