The Carton Council of North America, Denton, Texas, is celebrating 10 years of carton recycling.
Formed in 2009, the group has worked with countless stakeholders to grow household access to food and beverage carton recycling to nearly 61 percent, representing a 238 percent increase in 10 years, the organization says in a news release.
In 2009, only 18 percent of U.S. households had access to carton recycling. Now, carton recycling programs exist in 49 states, with more than 71 million U.S. homes able to recycle cartons in curbside or drop-off programs.
With a look ahead, the Carton Council has set its ambitions for the future. This includes increasing household access to 75 percent and raising the carton recycling rate to 25 percent by 2025. The curbside carton recycling rate for cartons currently sits around 16 percent, which is an increase from when the rate stood at 6 percent in 2009.
“Since forming, we’ve seen a big increase in products being packaged in cartons,” says Jason Pelz, vice president of recycling projects for the Carton Council. “This means more cartons have the potential to enter the recycling stream. We’re hard at work to ensure those cartons do not end up in landfills and can be turned into new products.”
Progress has been achieved in large part due to the public-private relationships established at all levels throughout the recycling supply chain, the organization says. Carton recycling champion communities include Napa City and Napa County, California; San Diego and San Diego County; Fort Collins, Colorado; Brookfield, Connecticut; Central Virginia, which includes 13 localities in the Richmond area; Northern Cook County, Illinois; Anoka County, Becker County and Minneapolis, Minnesota; and New York, New York.
“As product packaging changes, the recycling market needs to adapt to fit growing needs,” says Lydia Campbell, recycling program specialist at Anoka County Public Health and Environmental Services. “The work that the Carton Council has done accomplishes just that. Cartons are a popular packaging style and incorporating them into curbside recycling programs is an obvious choice. It’s a substantial material stream, and our residents are happy that they can participate and keep more resources out of landfills.”