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Recycling Cartons

One of the more common residential waste items placed in the trash rather than the recycling container is the carton. Juice cartons, soup cartons and many others often wind up in the landfill when they could be sent to a paper mill and recycled into new paper products.

It’s not surprising cartons aren’t commonly recycled for a couple of reasons. First, people often follow a general rule of thumb – when in doubt, don’t recycle it to avoid contaminating all recycling. And, secondly, it wasn’t long ago cartons were supposed to kept out of the recycling bin.

Our customers in and around Memphis create a considerable amount of recyclable waste, cartons included. If you are unsure what can and cannot be recycled, visit our website and look under “recycling” in the menu. Our goal is to increase recycling rates to lessen the impact of waste on our communities and environment.

Cartons weren’t always accepted in recycling programs because the wax used in the manufacturing made them difficult to recycle. But in recent years, the wax has been replaced with layers of plastic (polyethylene) and aluminum, both of which don’t interfere with recycling. As a result of that change, local programs are now encouraging carton recycling.

 Waste Connections of Memphis Carton Diagram

Cartons are common in food packaging as they are used for juices, broths, soups, and other items and are designed for both cold storage and shelf storage. Made primarily of paper, cartons are welcomed at the paper mill where they will be recycled into new paper products lessening the impact on the environment.

Today, thanks to awareness efforts of local recycling programs and special interest groups like the Carton Council, carton recycling is taking place in more than 35 million homes in 40 states. Earth911.com reports that carton recycling has increased from 18 percent to 37 percent of households from 2008 to 2011. And why not? With simple single stream recycling options like Waste Connections of Tennessee in Memphis, there’s no reason to not recycle cartons.


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Visit the News section often to learn more about the many environmentally conscious and civics-oriented efforts Waste Connections of TN supports in the greater Memphis area. We will also provide service updates, Memphis recycling and waste disposal tips and informative articles on how you can support our efforts to keep Metro Memphis safe and clean.