Cartons are recyclable. They are made mainly from paper, with a thin layer of polyethylene (plastic) and in some cases, a thin layer of aluminum. Milk, juice, soup, and milk alternatives like soy milk and almond milk are just some of the products packaged in cartons that are recyclable in your blue box or container cart! Recycled cartons are made into new products you use every day such as paper towels, tissues, napkins and writing paper.
What happens to cartons after they leave your recycling bin?
On collection day, recycling trucks throughout the province pick up your recyclables and take them to the recycling facility. Here, cartons are separated from other recyclable materials using infrared technology.
Path 1: Consumer products
Cartons are packed together and sent to a paper mill. At the paper mill, cartons are added to a large machine called a Hydrapulper – essentially a giant blender – that uses water to break the cartons down into their component parts. Cartons are separated into paper, plastic and aluminum. The pulp is used to make paper products such as paper towels, tissue and office paper. The residual plastic and aluminum can be sent on for further recycling, such as producing ceiling tiles or wallboard, or can be used for energy to fuel the paper mill.
Path 2: Building materials
Instead of a paper mill, cartons can also be sent to a recycling company that turns cartons into building materials. Cartons are shredded, then heat is applied and they are pressed back together into large sheets – Like a panini press made of shredded cartons!
About 30 cartons can be made into a single 2’x2’ ceiling tile, while roughly 400 cartons make up a full wallboard.
Put your cartons in the Blue Bin!
To learn more about carton recycling, visit the Carton Council of Canada’s web site.