Carton Recycling Myths Debunked + 4 Easy Ways to Improve Recycling at Home

June 6, 2018

This post was sponsored by the Carton Council as part of an Ambassador Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Did you know curbside carton recycling is available to more than 62% of U.S. households in over 13,370 communities and this access is steadily growing every day? The Carton Council, which formed in 2009 with leading carton producers, began a nationwide effort to promote carton recycling as well as recycling technology to keep cartons out of landfills. With this type of packaging becoming increasingly popular for food and beverages, it’s more important than ever to separate myth from fact and keep cartons out of landfills and in recycling bins.

Cartons use the least amount of materials when possible with an average of 93% of product and just 7% packaging but because of their mixed material makeup (paper + thin layer of plastic + sometimes aluminum), several myths and questions exist regarding their recycling. Listed below I am debunking these common myths and sharing only the facts so we can all do our part to spread the word and recycle!

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MYTH: Carton can’t be recycled

Food and beverage cartons can and should be recycled! All of the carton products you use everyday (milk, juice, soups, broths, coconut water, etc.) can easily be tossed into the recycling bin for collection. Even products like wine, tomatoes, creamer and beans come packaged in cartons. All of these products should be recycled regularly (you can even leave the lids/caps on)! With The Carton Council’s goal to make carton recycling accessible to everyone, this packaging can now have new life and help to reduce landfill waste. To check if carton recycling is available in your area use the zip code locator at or check with your local program.

MYTH: Cartons have a wax coating that make recycling more difficult

What you may think is wax on a carton is actually a thin layer of polyethylene or plastic. Any cartons with a shiny coating can be included in your recycling too!

MYTH: Cartons should be rinsed and flattened for recycling

Carton recycling is simple. You don’t need to rinse the packaging (unless it’s not empty) and it should not be folded, crushed or flattened. It’s important for cartons to be in their 3D form so that optic sorters used at Material Recovery Facilities have a higher chance of recognizing cartons for proper sorting.

MYTH: Carton material is not useful

False! Food and beverage cartons bcome new products like napkins, tissue paper, and even eco-friendly chemical free building materials. Check out the video below to see how carton material is given a second life when recycled!

Recycling is important on so many different levels but among the most significant are to help conserve earth’s natural resources, reduce landfill waste, and save energy. It can be difficult to always remember to recycle at home. Listed below are four easy ways to improve recycling at home while also getting the whole family involved.

1. Colorful Bins Throughout the House

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Place bright and colorful bins throughout your home wherever recyclables are used including the bathroom, playroom, office, etc. This will be a steady reminder while also making it convenient to recycle instead of just tossing in the trash.

2. Get Crafty

Save your cartons and other recyclables to create fun DIY crafts or projects. The options are seemingly endless for the variety of things you can create! (find some ideas from Pinterest here)

3. Educate and Involve the Whole family (Especially Kids)


At your next family meal or whenever everyone is gathered, discuss the importance of recycling and the basics of how to recycle. Lead by action so your children know exactly what to do when they are done with their recyclable packaging. To make recycling more fun or to motivate kids, create a sticker chart that marks each time they remember to recycle.

4. Buy Recycled Products

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Always remember to buy products in recyclable packaging whenever possible to limit your waste production!

Head over to The Carton Council to learn more about recycling cartons and to get involved with this nationwide movement!

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  • Reply Violet Smith June 7, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    The chart is such a great idea!

  • Reply Maryann D. June 8, 2018 at 9:34 am

    We do try to recycle often. I think it is a wonderful idea to IMPROVE RECYCLING AT HOME! Super tips in this article.

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