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Frequently Asked Questions About Cartons

In January, we announced that we will begin taking cartons as an acceptable recyclable item. Many households use cartons on a daily basis. Removing them from the waste stream and allowing these items to be recyclable will have a great impact on the environment.

With any new recyclable material, there may be some questions. In order to provide all of our customers with as much information as possible, we created a flyer on Frequently Asked Questions about Cartons. Topics covered include what a carton is, what are they made from and how to recycle cartons. Please keep reading for more information on carton recycling.

By now, you may already have a good idea of what a carton is. Cartons are a type of packaging for food and beverage products you can purchase at the store. They are easy to recognize and are available in two types — shelf-stable and refrigerated. Shelf-stable carton products include juice, milk, soy milk, soup or broth and wine cartons. These items are typically found on the shelves in the grocery stores. Refrigerated carton products include milk, juice, cream and egg substitutes. These items are typically found in the chilled sections of grocery stores.

So now that you know what a carton is, you may be wondering what cartons are made from. Cartons mainly contain paper in the form of paperboard and thin layers of polyethylene (a type of plastic) and/or aluminum. Shelf-stable cartons contain about 74% paper, 22% polyethylene and 4% aluminum. Refrigerated cartons contain about 80% paper and 20% polyethylene.

Recycling your cartons is easy to do. Simply place your empty carton in your recycle bin with all of your other recyclable items. Here are some more tips to recycle cartons:

  • Make sure your carton is empty
  • Rinse out your carton to remove any odors
  • Remove any caps and straws

Want to learn more about carton recycling? Please be sure to check out our Frequently Asked Questions piece here. We have also updated our Recycling Guidelines to include cartons. You may also want to visit the carton council’s website for more information on carton recycling.

To stay up to date on all things recycling or collection updates, be sure to like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our E-News Updates.


Filed Under: Recycling | 12 comments - Leave a Comment

12 comments on “Frequently Asked Questions About Cartons

  1. I’m a big believe in helping our recycling and helping our overall environment. I still a bit confused as to how to properly recycle. The big blue container given last year I’m assuming is for everything. All cans, bottles, cartons, newspaper, cardboard, etc. can now just be placed in that blue container without separating in any way. Is this correct?
    Also, if feel many people do not know the PROPER way to recycle, especially the elderly and many busy households. I frequently see things like peanut butter jars not washed out and other such containers that are not rinsed or cleaned out. I feel a better educational effort should be given to show and tell people what needs or should be done to help out the recycling process.

    • Thank you for the input. You are correct that the blue bin that you received is for all of your recyclable items to be placed in. We operate using single stream collection which means that all recyclables can go into one container and we will sort it at our facility.
      Regarding tips for recycling, we created our website to be used as a tool for customers to learn about new recyclables and tips on recycling. Please check out our blog for more information. We do also communicate information with municipalities and many of them will include this information in any communication that they send to residents. Thanks!

  2. THE BLUE BIN THAT WE RECEIVED ARE WE ALLOWED TO PUT IN PAPER, CARDBOARD ,BOTTLES ,CANS AND PLASTIC BOTTLES TOGETHER IN THE SAME BIN.

    • Great question! Yes, we collect all recyclables in one recycling bin. This called single stream collection. All recyclables may be placed in the same bin and we will sort the recyclables at our facility. Thanks!

    • Good question! The only type of egg cartons that we do not accept is the foam container. The other types, plastic and paperboard cartons, may be tossed in your recycling bin with the rest of your recyclables. Thanks!

    • Good question! Dehumidifiers can be placed curbside and will be collected as a bulk item. In Susquehanna Township you may dispose of one bulk item per week. Thank you!

  3. I’m glad you have this method for me to be able to ask and get fast answers to my recycling concerns. I kind of have 2 questions/concerns.
    I’m assuming that coffee containers that have their tops and bottoms metal and the middle made of hard cardboard can be tossed in the blue recycling container.
    Also, just curious as to if people actually clean out their containers like I do. . . I wash out the remainder of peanut butter in an empty jar, mayonnaise, mustard, etc. I see many do not as I peek into recycling containers at times. Is not cleaning out the containers a problem for the recycling process?

    • Regarding the coffee container, that may be placed in your recycling container. As for the clean recyclables, we really appreciate that you take the time to clean out the containers. Cleaning out the containers reduces the amount of contaminants in the recycle stream. Having less contaminants helps with getting the recyclables to the proper recyclables after we sort the single stream collected. We highly encourage cleaning out the recyclables in order to make the process more efficient. Thank you!

  4. I live in Dover Township. I do not generate a lot of trash or recyclables. I generally put my trash out every two or three weeks and recyclables once a month. Is there a lower fee schedule i can utilize and still use the large waste container?

    • Good Question. In Dover Township, there are other options, but you may not be able to keep the mobile cart. Please contact our customer service department at 717-767-4456 to discuss your options. Thank you!

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