Live Greener: Recycle This
Recycling is a huge part of our household’s garbage routine. My husband thinks I go overboard sometimes, but we recycle all cans, #1 and #2 plastic, all the paper, junk mail, and newspapers that come into the house. But what about those things that seem like they could be recycled but don’t have the little “do good” recycle symbol on the bottom? What most people don’t know is that cartons, either refrigerated or aseptic/shelf cartons, are made of three layers of plastic, paper, and aluminum.
Earth911.org states a typical shelf-stable carton averages 74 percent paper, 22 percent plastic and 4 percent aluminum. The refrigerated cartons skip the aluminum and usually stick to an 80 percent paper, 20 percent plastic combo.
In addition, cartons require fewer natural resources to transport due to their efficient product-to-packaging ratio. On average, a product sold in a shelf stable carton is 94 percent product and 6 percent packaging. This means fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced since they can be shipped using fewer trucks.
Also, once they have been recycled, the high quality of the materials used in cartons makes them very desirable for re-manufacturing into new products. All three materials used to make cartons can be re-purposed.
So, don’t throw them away! You can recycle them at the Onyx Waste Services Drop-off at Recycling Center on Mondovi Road in Eau Claire.
To find out if your city provides carton recycling, visit the Carton Council’s website or search Earth911’s recycling database.
Onyx Waste Services
Drop-off Recycling Program
2626 Mondovi Road
Eau Claire, WI 54701
What About Pizza Boxes?
While the box itself is recyclable, the tasty hot pizza, cheese, and grease left on the inside of the box are not. :0( But it’s not a total loss.
The easiest remedy for this problem is to cut or tear out the soiled portions of your pizza boxes and trash them. For example, you can tear the top of the box off, recycle that, and throw away the bottom part containing the grease. If the entire box is grease-free, the whole box can be recycled with a guilt-free conscience. Problem solved! :0)
You can also recycle cartons by mail. If your family goes through a lot of juice boxes along with carton OJ and milk, maybe a mail-in program would fit your needs. You do have to pay the shipping but you can use flat rate boxes, reuse a box and feel better about your part in saving the planet. Even one step at a time. Recyclecartons.com has a pdf of the ways you can mail in your cartons. Basically it’s like all recycling, wash, dry, flatten, put in box and mail. So check it out before you toss the carton in the regular old trash can.