In just three years, the number of households who can recycle cartons has grown from 18% to now more than 40%, an increase of 128%. This represents more than 47.9 million US households.
In 2009, a group of carton manufactures, including Elopak, Tetra Pak and SIG, joined forces as the Carton Council to increase carton recycling availability in the US.
Industry is targeting 50% access to kerbside carton recycling as 43 states currently accept cartons.
There are currently seven North American mills and nine international mills that take cartons and more than 250 recycling facilities in the US that accept the packaging.
According to the group, benefits of cartons include being made from a renewable resource, lightweight properties and a reduction in carbon footprint for shelf-stable cartons that are shipped and stored without requiring refrigeration.
“In these budget-strapped times, the private sector is increasingly identifying solutions and ways to help the public sector meets its sustainability goals.
“Our work through the Carton Council is a great example of how business competitors can find common ground and work together to solve big challenges, which in our case is the lack of access to recycle what we know is a very environmentally friendly package-the carton,” said Jason Pelz, vice president, environment, Tetra Pak North America, and vice president of recycling projects for Carton Council of North America.
He added that he wanted to see 50% on the horizon: “We want cartons to be as common in curbside bins as they are on store shelves.”