Carton Recycling

Food and Beverage Cartons Are Acceptable for Recycling!  

Cartons DisplayedWhat is a CARTON?

There are two types of cartons that are acceptable: 

Shelf-Stable Cartons include cartons that are found on store shelves, such as broth, water, and wine cartons.  

Refrigerated Cartons are those found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store such as juice, milk, and cream.  

Cartons that are NOT Acceptable include ice cream containers or other containers from the freezer section of the store.  

Daughter dumping into recycling cartHow Do You Recycle Cartons?

Cartons go right in your recycling bin or cart with bottles, cans and paper.  

1. Empty your carton.  (Pro tip: No need to rinse as long as you shake all those last drops of liquid or food out). 

2. Add cartons to your recycling bin or cart with your bottles, cans and papers.  (Pro tip: don't crush your cartons, keep the caps on, and push the straw back into those small milk or juice cartons). 

3. Take your recycling bin or cart out on recycling day! 

Cartons in recycling basket What Happens to Recycled Cartons?

Once the cartons are collected, they are separated from other items at the material recovery facility (MRF).  From there, they are used to make paper products such as paper towels and tissues. The materials are packed together and sent to a paper mill where they are added to a large machine called a Hydrapulper which breaks it down into component parts.  The paper pulp is separated to make paper products, while the plastic and aluminum can be sent on for further recycling. 

If the cartons are totally segregated, they can be sent to companies to make building materials, such as wallboard, ceiling tiles and roof cover board.  Kelly Green Products in Waterbury CT uses the cartons to make these building materials and is looking to work directly with schools to recycle their milk cartons.  

Learn more about carton recycling at