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If You Live In LA, Now You Can Recycle Milk Cartons

Los Angeles expands recycling program with help from the Carton Council.

Finally, if you live in L.A., you can add milk cartons and juice boxes in with your other household recyclables.  Hallelujah!  As someone who lived in L.A. for almost 15 years, I can tell you first hand that this is a big deal.

Until recently, Los Angeles residents were prohibited from including paperboard items like milk, soup, broth, and wine cartons in with curbside recyclables. Instead, these items had to be thrown away.  But through a partnership with the Carton Council, L.A. has been able to take steps to include these recyclables in its curbside recycling program.

The key to instituting the new policy, according to Carton Council Vice President of Recycling Jeff Fielkow, is finding after-markets for the recycled material.  “For (recycled) cartons, there is a strong North American and global demand,” said Fielkow. “We’re seeing that there are good trading end markets.”  And that market is largely in the tissue industry.

Tissue mills located in the U.S., Mexico and Canada can separate used cartons into fiber and non-fiber material through a series of filters.  Then the recovered fiber can be used to make facial and bathroom tissue.

Recycling paper cartons that hold consumable liquids has been a problem for a long time, although the cartons are generally about 80% paperboard.  The other components of the cartons–– about 20 to 22% polyethylene, make processing more difficult.  And in some cases, the cartons may contain up to 4% aluminum.  According to the Carton Council, while some areas would accept the cartons for composting only, many municipalities have refused to accept the waxy-feeling or aluminum-lined containers at all.

The Carton Council works directly with recycling companies, cities and paper mills to promote recycling programs for liquid food and beverage containers.  In Los Angeles, for instance, the group worked directly with the city and recycling companies to implement the program.

The new curbside program will help bring L.A. closer to its goal of diverting 70% of its annual 10.1 million tons of solid waste from landfills by 2013.

Now that really is something to cheer about.

About Sebrina Zerkus Smith

Professional writer, foodie. Lupus survivor. Loves pugs, wine, days at the beach and good movies. Takes recycling seriously, but not much else. Sebrina Zerkus Smith is a Southern Gal that has been scratching the writer’s itch for nearly 30 years. Her career began in Washington, D.C., in 1987, fresh out of collage and full of ideals. While plying her trade by day on congressional reps and senators, at night she burned the candle writing features for local newspapers and national magazines. She quickly realized that her southern upbringing gave her a unique and humorous voice that resonated with her readers. Eventually, she moved to Los Angeles where she pursued her dream of becoming a novelist and screenwriter. She paid her bills by working as a freelance writer for major marketing projects from studios such as CBS, NBC and Disney. Realizing that the future of writing lay with the internet, she was bitten by the blogging bug back in the 90’s, back before it was even called “blogging.” Then it was still just writing and trying to make a living. Through those early blogging years, Sebrina found passion and purpose. Over the past 10 years she has written articles for clients such as LightCues.com, MatterMore.com, Greenopolis, MacAddict, Yahoo, CNN and more. Today, Sebrina writes about a variety of topics including the Southern Experience, sustainability, clean water, food, gardening, sleep and her obsession with pugs. She is a regular paid contributor to WildOats.com as well as other entities. She now lives in Houston with her husband Jeff and their pug Newton. She hopes one day to complete her opus, Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed.


One thought on “If You Live In LA, Now You Can Recycle Milk Cartons

  1. Aluminum is lightweight, relatively cheap and perfect reproduction of mechanical processing. The aluminium very high conductivity, aluminum resistant to corrosion and impact of the external environment, it is non-toxic, aesthetic – almost ideal material for interior design. Due to its advantages of aluminium today is one of the most popular metals industry.

    Posted by Nu Folkner | November 14, 2011, 2:43 pm

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