Notable progress made: U.S. carton recycling access reaches 50 percent!


By Jason Pelz, vice president of recycling projects for Carton Council of North America and vice president, environment, for Tetra Pak North America.
I am proud to announce an impressive milestone: fifty percent of U.S. households can now recycle cartons through curbside and other local recycling programs. I serve as vice president of recycling projects for the Carton Council of North America. Since 2009, we’ve been working to improve access to carton recycling, and thanks to the help of countless recycling industry representatives, stakeholders and communities, access has increased 177 percent since our efforts began.
We’re not stopping here, however: 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.  
Check out our new infographic on this milestone here.
A few additional facts:
  • Carton recycling access has grown a remarkable 177 percent over the last 5 years, starting at just 18 percent in 2009 when the Carton Council was first formed. 
  • Today, 58,358,146 households can recycle cartons either via curbside programs or drop off facilities in the U.S. 
This milestone was not achieved in isolation. I am proud of the robust network we have built across the country, consisting of our customers, the nine mills in North America that recycle cartons, recycling program coordinators (including those early adopters who are among our most vocal supporters), and of course, the facility operators and recycling company representatives who have seen firsthand the value of carton recycling and who are committed to helping increase access. It is with their support that we have been able to achieve tremendous, and dare I say, unprecedented, growth, reaching 50 percent access in just five years.
Watch this space for more news to come. We are moving fast. We are making progress and we WILL see a day where valuable food and beverage cartons are no longer in landfills. 
Jason can be reached at