Our Path to Progress


By Jason Pelz

I am proud to share, on behalf of the Carton Council of North America, that we have recently hit another milestone. As of July, 55 percent of U.S. households can now recycle their food and beverage cartons in the communities where they live. Thanks in large part to the collaboration of many local facilities, local governments and industry stakeholders, Americans in more than 64 million households in 10,500 communities can recycle the cartons they buy and use. 

Over the past six years, we have witnessed the evolution of carton recycling, from being something only available to 18 percent of households, to now reaching a majority of households (and growing). We are proud to say that carton recycling is well on its way to becoming the “new normal” in the U.S. 

Reaching 55 percent access is especially important because it means we are only five percent away from 60 percent. According to the Federal Trade Commission, 60% represents a "substantial majority." of the population having access to recycling. At that point carton recycling will be truly mainstream, just like other containers.

While “access” is critical because it lays the foundation for reaching our ultimate goal of widespread carton recycling in the U.S., now that we are at 55 percent, we are also expanding our focus on increasing carton recovery, working to increase the amount of cartons that get recycled in communities with access. This has been a goal of the Carton Council since we first began in 2009. 

Thank you again for your support in these united efforts. This progress would not be possible without the continued network of stakeholder support. And now...onwards!

Jason Pelz is vice president of recycling projects for Carton Council of North America and vice president, environment, for Tetra Pak North America. He can be reached at Jason.Pelz@tetrapak.com.