Dispose of Cartons Right

Some communities can include cartons in a curbside recycling program. Cartons are packaging for food and beverage products you purchase at the grocery store such as milk, juice, soup, broth, and wine.

Cartons should be empty, clean, and dry before recycling. The cap should be discarded in the trash. Allow all fluids to drain (to prevent mold and pests), flatten the carton, and place it in your curbside recycling.


Which Recycling Processors Can Accept Cartons?

Residents with recycling processed by Republic Services and Rumpke Waste & Recycling can include cartons in their curbside recycling.


Currently, Kimble Companies and WM do not accept cartons.

About Cartons
Cartons are packaging for food and beverage products you purchase at the grocery store. They are recognizable and available in two types—shelf-stable and refrigerated. Shelf-stable cartons, which can be found on shelves in grocery stores, contain juice, milk, soy milk, soup and broth, and wine. Refrigerated cartons include milk, juice, cream, and egg substitutes. These cartons can be found in the chilled sections of grocery stores. 

Cartons are made of paperboard with thin layers of polyethylene (plastic) and aluminum. Shelf-stable cartons contain about 74% paper, 22% polyethylene, and 4% aluminum. Refrigerated cartons contain about 80% paper and 20% polyethylene. 


What you may see as wax on a carton is a thin layer of polyethylene (plastic). These layers can be peeled apart for recycling. Cartons are not difficult to recycle if the right systems are in place.

The paper fiber in cartons is valuable and useful for making new products. The area of the country you live in, and the local paper mill, determines what your cartons will become. Some mills recycle cartons into tissues, while others use the paper fibers to make office paper. In some cases, cartons are some of the materials used for wallboard manufacturing. 

Tetra Pak is carton packaging for food and beverages. See details.

Visit the Carton Council for more information.


Looking to recycle, donate, or dispose of other items? Use the dark blue 'What Do I Do With?' search bar at the top of every page of this website. Allow location services or use the city drop-down to find opportunities in your local area.