Engage Consumers to Recycle Their Cartons!


By Carla Fantoni, vice president of communications for the Carton Council

Whether food and beverage cartons have been recycled in your community for years, or are a new addition, it’s important to educate about them clearly. Websites are a critical source for recycling information for residents (second only to a product’s packaging).

Here are a few recommended ways for describing cartons on a community or materials recovery facility (MRF) website’s list of accepted materials:

  • List food and beverage cartons as a separate category (just like you would list aluminum, plastic, paper, glass, etc.)
  • Provide a detailed list of what a carton often contains, such as: food and beverage cartons, containing milk, juice, soup, crackers, cream, beans, water, broth, wine, etc.
  • Include images of the various kinds of cartons (we can provide you with some!)

One of the most common inaccuracies we see out there is that cartons are wax coated. Cartons are made primarily from paper, with a thin layer of polyethylene (plastic), which some mistakenly identify as “wax.” Listing cartons as wax coated is confusing to residents and could result in them being tossed into the trash, instead of the bin!

Some other incorrect ways cartons are described that should be avoided include:

  • Tetra Pak (This refers to a manufacturer, not a carton)
  • Cardboard or corrugated cardboard
  • Chipboard

Take a moment to check out your website, newsletter, recycling guide, fliers, social media etc. to ensure you are communicating accurate information to your residents about carton recycling. We encourage you to also check all websites that may provide information to your residents about local recycling, such as your MRF, hauler or even your local Keep America Beautiful affiliate.

Don’t forget, we’re here to help! There are a variety of resources available for you on our website, and they are all FREE! This includes a toolkit with templates for graphics, advertisements, school lesson plans, posters and more. Please contact us at carton.recycling@hkstrategies.com if you have any questions or need assistance. Happy recycling!