Kick Recycling Myths to the Curb

by | Jul 30, 2018

Keep America Beautiful Guest Post

By Carla Fantoni, VP of Communications, Carton Council

Did you know that food and beverage cartons don’t have a “wax” coating or that bagging your recyclables in plastic bags can actually prevent them from getting recycled?

At the Carton Council, we’ve been working hard for almost 10 years to expand recycling of food and beverage cartons such as those that pack milk, juice, broth and even wine. Now we’re also trying to educate and eradicate some long-held myths that many believe. Below are some myths that are still out there. Help us spread the truth!

Myth #1: Cartons have a waxy coating and therefore can’t be recycled.

Truth: This is one of the oldest myths in the book! In reality, food and beverage cartons do not contain any wax. Cartons are made mainly from paper in the form of paperboard. What you may think of as “wax” on a carton is actually a thin layer of plastic.

Myth #2: Cartons don’t get recycled into anything else.

Truth: Cartons are recyclable and are being recycled! Once recycled, cartons can be turned into new paper products, such as paper towels, tissues and office and writing paper. Additionally, the entire carton can be recycled into environmentally-friendly building materials, like wallboard and roof cover board.

Myth #3: It’s okay to put your recyclables in a plastic bag and then in your recycling container.

Truth: Placing recyclables in plastic bags jams up equipment at recycling centers, slowing everything down and potentially preventing your recyclables from even getting recycled. Instead, place materials loosely in recycling bins/carts.

Myth #4: You have to crush cartons and remove the caps and straws before recycling them.

Truth: Empty any remaining product and that’s it! No need to crush cartons, and you can leave the caps on. Additionally, you can stuff your straws back into the carton to make sure they follow the same recycling process as cartons. No littering here!

You can find these myths and more on the Carton Council’s Myths vs. Truth one-pager, available for download here. To see if carton recycling in available in your community, visit, or check with your local community.

Happy Recycling!