Live Green and Earn Points


Because You Asked

If I Can’t Put Aseptic Cartons In My Recycling Bin, Do I Have To Trash Them?

By Recyclebank |

More and more communities accept this popular food and beverage packaging for recycling, and there's still hope if yours doesn't yet.


Dear Recyclebank: A large amount of my groceries are packaged in aseptic Tetra Paks, and while the containers clearly state that they are “recyclable only where facilities exist”, my municipality never seems to get on board. As a concerned eco-citizen, what can I do to prevent this valuable material from ending up in my garbage can? –Elizah L.


Dear Elizah: The use of aseptic containers, like those manufactured by the company Tetra Pak, are becoming more common, as they make your milk, wine, soups, and sauces shelf-stable and pathogen free for up to one year without refrigeration. But similar to composite containers or single use coffee pods, aseptic containers can be difficult to recycle because they combine several different materials that can’t be separated very easily; aseptic containers generally consist of six to seven layers of paper, aluminum, and low-density polyethylene plastic film.


In order to recycle the paper layer, paper mills need special equipment that can separate the carton layers from each other. Paper mills that don’t have that equipment don’t have a use for cartons, and so won’t buy them from MRFs, making it financially tough for some communities to collect cartons for recycling. But the good news is that many MRFs have found end markets for cartons — several communities throughout 48 states now have access to carton recycling — and for those of us in communities that don’t have access to curbside carton recycling, there are ways you can take action in the meantime.


As part of their commitment to double the amount of Tetra Pak cartons that are recycled — from 20% in 2010 to 40% by 2020 — Tetra Pak and other carton manufacturers work together as the Carton Council to help divert cartons from landfills. On their site you can look up your area and find out how and where to recycle cartons.


If you want to get your municipality on board with curbside carton recycling, the Carton Council may be able to help you there, too. Municipalities may expand the types of items accepted for recycling if enough residents voice that they are willing to actively recycle that item. Check to see if your local community has a waste or sustainability committee that will listen to resident feedback and help address environmental issues (if none exist, speak to your local government representative about establishing one in order to develop more green policies and practices for your town). If resident demand doesn’t seem to be enough, you can introduce them to the Carton Council: In addition to offering technical assistance, they can pair MRFs with people who will buy the recycled cartons, in an effort to make carton recycling financially possible for municipalities and haulers.


SOURCES: Carton CouncilEnvironmental News NetworkGreen BizTetra Pak,Tree Hugger

Can you think of any other ways to get your community to accept more recyclables? Share any tips you have in the comments below!

Share with Your Friends & Family
  • Steven S. 4 months ago
    Posted Saturday, February 19, 2022
  • Katja Z. 4 months ago
    Saturday February 19th 2022.
    • Javier J. 4 months ago
      Late night or early morning?!
    • Steven S. 4 months ago
      I like doing this! Curious to see how many times Recyclebank is repeating these old articles!
    • Katja Z. 4 months ago
      Late night.
      I'm here usually after midnight to do the Daily Pledge.
    • Barbara W. 4 months ago
      Did you make a scorecard?
      Would be interesting to know
    • Katja Z. 4 months ago
      I have insomnia most nights.
      Stopping by to check out the Daily Pledge is just something I make sure to do.
      I was getting discouraged when Recyclebank was acting up around December 27th and on.
      I just figured that it was another good website going away.
      I'm glad that they are back up.
      But I haven't received any of the rewards that I redeemed my points with since October 2021.
      I send for coupons for a gallon of Country Fresh whole milk from Hollywood Market in Michigan with 150 points.
      I have contacted Recyclebank about it and have gotten a few emails from them stating that they have sent them but say that the program must be from their distribution center or the postal service.
    • View More
  • Diane T. 7 months ago
    Hiya everyone! How are you all doing?
  • Barbara W. 7 months ago
    This statement is from the article above:
    Municipalities may expand the types of items accepted for recycling if enough residents voice that they are willing to actively recycle that item.
    My community can't get together on much of anything ...How SAD!
  • Steven S. 7 months ago
    Posted Thursday, November 4, 2021
  • View More