Make Room in the Recycling Bin for Cartons

Posted on June 15, 2013

Thanks to recent changes in recycling programs, the last drop does not mark the end of a carton's useful life.

Milk cartons, juice boxes, soup, broth and wine cartons are now recyclable in the Twin Cities metro area.

Cartons are made mostly from high-grade paper with a thin layer of plastic or aluminum. Recyclers are able to separate the plastic and aluminum from the paper to recycle them.

The recycled carton paper fibers are a valuable resource for making new products, such as recycled paper products and even building materials. Some recyclers are using the aluminum and plastic to generate energy or create new products, such as lumber board-like materials.

How to Prepare Cartons for Recycling

To prepare cartons for recycling, give them a quick rinse to make sure they're empty and to reduce the chance for odors. Discard caps and straws.

If you put all your materials into one bin in your curbside recycling program, place your cartons in your bin with all the other recyclables. If your recycling program requires you to separate materials, check your sorting instructions and place cartons in the appropriate bin. Contact your city with any questions.   

If you use a recycling drop-off center, ask first since some centers do not yet accept cartons. Learn more about recycling cartons here.


We host CPY at our church, and it was hard to watch all the waste go in the trash. Thanks to the changes in recycling milk cartons, a major portion of that waste is no longer. Besides reducing waste it gives us a chance to engage and involve about 100 kids a day in caring for earth and others. A win /win for all !

Thanks for sharing your story about recycling at church and getting the kids involved.

I am so happy that cartons can now be recycled! This will really help reduce my garbage even more. Thanks for sharing the information.

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