A carton’s recycling journey: Meet Sam Soymilk
Everything has a life cycle, and a carton is no different.
We documented the journey of a soy milk carton, Sam Soymilk, from the day he’s purchased to the day he’s transformed into tissue. Enjoy learning about a beverage carton’s recycling journey from a fresh perspective!
Day 1: Sam Soymilk is bought at a local grocery store by a soy milk guzzling family. He’s a refrigerated, also known as a gable-top, carton and requires a cold environment to stay fresh. The family immediately places him on the door shelf of the fridge, this will now be his home for days to come, if he lasts that long.
Day 2: Sam Soymilk is living his best life. The activity for the day is frothy pumpkin spice lattes to keep the family toasty on a chilly Fall day. After being added to five PSL’s, Sam Soymilk is nearing his last couple drops.
Day 3: The big day has arrived! Sam Soymilk is ready to be recycled. In 3 easy steps, Sam makes his way from the fridge to the curb.
Step 1: Sam is completely emptied.
Step 2: He’s tossed – but not flattened – into the household recycling bin along wit
h all his other recyclable friends like cans and plastic bottles. (He even kept his cap on!)
Step 3: Sam and his recyclable friends are carried to the curb where they eagerly await their next destination. Shortly after, a recycling truck scoops them up and takes them to the sorting facility.
Day 4: Sam Soymilk has arrived at a recycling sorting facility. Here, Sam is separated from his other recyclable friends either manually or using infrared technology to join all the other cartons. Once Sam and his fellow cartons are sorted, they either head over to a paper mill to be turned into new consumer products, or go to a recycling company that turns cartons into building materials.
Day 5: Sam Soymilk has ended up at… the paper mill! When Sam arrives, he and the other cartons are added to a giant blender of sorts that uses water to break the cartons down into paper and plastic/aluminum. The paper is separated and the pulp is used to make paper products, such as paper towels, tissue, and office paper. The plastic and aluminum together are sent on for further recycling, such as producing ceiling tiles or wallboard, or used for energy to fuel the paper mill.
Now it’s time for Sam Soymilk to be recycled into something new: tissues! He’ll soon go on to support a sniffly family nearby.
Next time you pick up a box of tissues made from recycled paper, just think: these could be the results of cartons you purchased and recycled at one time!
If you didn’t get enough, view the full Sam Soymilk recycling journey on our Instagram.