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How to Recycle Cartons

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 that we’re just days away from America Recycles Day? It’s officially celebrated on November 15th every year, but anyone who recycles regularly celebrates every day they put out the recycling bin.

While recycling is an expected and accepted practice in almost every area of the country, there are still some towns that don’t offer recycling pick-up or services. I wrote a post a few months ago with tips on how to recycle even when you’re city doesn’t offer recycling services.

Today I’m sharing a bit more about just how to recycle items that you might not normally recycle… like cartons! Most who recycle do plastic, glass, and paper, but some items like cartons can be a little confusing as to where to put them. Good thing – it’s just as easy as the rest and maybe even easier!

Cartons are gaining in popularity with manufacturers. With an average of 93% product and only 7% packaging, cartons use a low amount of material making them a very efficient packaging choice and help to preserve our Earth’s precious resources. Cartons are sorted into 2 different types:

  • Aseptic (also called shelf-stable) are comprised of on average 74% paper, 22% plastic and 4% aluminum. They are found on grocery store shelves and are used for soups, water, milk, juice, beans, wine and nutritional shakes.
  • Gable-top (also called refrigerated) – contain about 80% paper and 20% plastic . They are found in the chilled section of the grocery store and are used to package milk, juice, cream and other beverages.

At a quick glance of my pantry and refrigerator, I have both and while there’s no real difference in how you recycle these two types – it’s important to see what they’re made of to see that they don’t really belong in the paper or plastic bin for this reason. That’s why it’s important to recycle cartons together and separately from the other types of recyclables.

Just like a lot of other recycled products, when you recycle cartons you should simply place them into your recycling bin. There’s no need to rinse the cartons, as long as they are empty, and you can even keep the caps on. Also, there is no need to crush cartons, as they are recycled more efficiently when left in their original shape.

So what do you do if your city doesn’t offer carton recycling?

Thankfully, carton recycling is now available to more than 62% of U.S. households. To check if carton recycling is available in your area, you can use the zip code locator at, or check with your local recycling program.

If it’s not yet available in your area, be sure to reach out to your local services and request that it be brought into your community. You can also still recycle your cartons by mailing in your dry cartons to one of three locations across the U.S.:

  • Altogether Recycling, 645 W 53rd Place, Denver, CO 80216
  • Firstar Fiber, 10330 “I” Street; Suite 100, Omaha, NE 68127
  • Tidewater Fiber, 1958 Diamond Hill Road, Chesapeake, VA 23324

Recycling is more important than ever. Each day, the average American generates more than four pounds of trash and 75% of trash in our waste stream is actually recyclable materials.

Making recycling easier and more available to every community is SO important and that’s why I join in celebrating America Recycles Day on November 15th!