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.