Every Carton Recycling Step Matters
Recyclers, you already know the three easy steps to recycling your food and beverage cartons, 1) Empty your carton, 2) Toss it in the recycling bin, and 3) roll it to the curb. Ever wondered why? We’re pulling back the curtain and giving you all the details to your biggest questions so you don’t have to think twice about how or why when recycling your cartons. These are our top tips for most households, but if your local facility says differently, always go with what they say.
Why do you need to empty your cartons?
Emptying your cartons before tossing them in the recycling bin is an important step to get rid of any last drops of unused food or liquid in your carton. Any leftover food or liquid in your recycled cartons can cause a mess and encourage pest invasion both at home and at the recycling facility. Many facilities ask that you rinse your cartons before recycling to avoid these scenarios (no one wants to clean up after your leftover soup explodes everywhere!). But if you give your carton a good shake over the sink before tossing it in the bin, then you can skip the rinsing and save on the water!
Why place the cap back on or push the straw back in your carton?
There is no need to remove the cap or straw from your carton before you recycle it. After you empty your carton, put the cap back on or push the straw back in the carton after you empty it and toss it in the recycling bin. This avoids the caps and straws from clogging machines or falling off and becoming litter.
Why toss your carton without flattening it?
Flattening or folding your carton can seem like the right idea to conserve space, but please don’t do it! Once cartons arrive at a recycling sorting facility, they are separated from other recyclables using optical sorters (some facilities use robots like this one named Hot Dawg) and by people who sort materials manually. For the optical sorters, robots, and humans, it’s much easier to recognize a carton in its original 3D shape. A flattened carton can easily be confused with paper. So skip the carton crushing and toss your empty cartons straight in the recycling bin as is!
Now that you know the WHY behind carton recycling steps, we hope the process will be that much easier and faster for you. We appreciate all the hard work and dedication to recycle your cartons each and every day! We couldn’t do this without your help. These additional steps at home will help to ensure recycled cartons are converted into reusable material such as tissue paper, toilet paper and even building materials.