Recycling Milk & Juice Cartons to Reduce Waste and Conserve Resources

Ever wondered what happens to your milk or juice cartons? Well, these cartons are now being recycled all over the United States. So no need to throw these away with the other trash, instead put it out separately for recycling.

Cartons are packages used for milk, juices and other food products which are available in the stores and are mainly of two kinds – Refrigerated and Shelf-Stable. As per the Recycle cartons website, these are made from paper in the form of paperboard, as well as thin layers of polyethylene (plastic) – Shelf-stable cartons contain on average 74% paper, 22% polyethylene and 4% aluminum and the refrigerated cartons contain about 80% paper and 20% polyethylene. Both the kinds are recyclable.

The number of carton recycling households has increased manifold over the years in the United States. Today over 56 million households have access to it and the numbers are growing rapidly. In many neighborhoods and communities, there is carton collection available these days. Tampa, Columbus, New York City, Los Angeles, and many other cities already have these recycling facilities. And if you don’t know whether it’s available in your neighborhood – there is no need to worry – you can easily find out on the recycle cartons website by simply entering your zip. And if it’s not available – you can always take these to a recycling center close by and do your bit.

This effort has been implemented in schools as well. In states such as New York and New Jersey schools have the carton recycling programs. They provide recycling stations for cartons – where kids can empty the leftover liquids and then put the empty carton in a separate bin provided. These bins are placed in accessible areas for both students and teachers – such as cafeteria, classrooms and Teachers’ lounges. Some schools even use these cartons in creative ways such as planters for seedlings etc. The carton recycling programs in schools helps not just in recycling but also in teaching kids environmentally responsible behavior early on. A green guide by the Carton council explains in detail why it is important for schools, its advantages to environment and communities; and how it works. The same is being followed by various schools all over the country.

Once collected, the cartons are recycled and re-purposed by companies for making different products such as tissue paper, building material or printing paper; rather than ending up in the trash. A Company named ReWall based in Iowa, uses these cartons to make building materials. According to their website, they recycle around 2 million tons of polyethylene coated cartons and cups every year. Their product line includes Ceiling tiles, boards and other materials which are used for building. Used cartons are being recycled by many other companies as well.

Its a great way to conserve the world resources. An Eco-friendly and good-for-all measure, to reduce waste and to re-purpose a product into something useful.

Credit Vasudha Aggarwal on Google+

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