- Cardboard - Cartons are made mostly of cardboard, which can be recycled and made into new products. A one-litre Tetra Pak fresh milk carton is made up of 88% cardboard.
- Council majority - An overwhelming majority of councils servicing over 90% of the Australian population accept fresh beverage cartons for recycling. Most councils also accept long-life, foil-lined cartons and you can check whether this service is available in your local area by visiting RecyclingNearYou.com.au (WA councils do not accept foil-lined cartons).
- Mixed paper bales - Some paper recyclers do not want cartons in their recycling streams as they say it degrades the value of the recycled paper fibre. On average, fresh beverage and long-life, foil-lined cartons make up just 0.6% of mixed paper bales sorted at recycling sorting facilities.1 While cartons entering the mixed paper stream is not ideal, from an environmental perspective it is a much better outcome than those containers being sent to landfill.
- How carton recycling works
- Cartons are sorted into mixed paper bales before being sent to paper mills for recycling, either locally or overseas.
- At these mills, cartons are added to large machines called Hydrapulpers – essentially a giant blender – that use water to break the cartons down into two component parts.
- The paper pulp is separated and used to make a variety of paper products, such as paper towels, tissue and paper bags.
Choose your actions!
- Check locally if your council accepts long life foil-lined cartons for recycling by visiting RecyclingNearYou.com.au.
- Empty and flatten cartons before putting them in the home recycling bin.
- Flavoured milk and juice cartons under one-litre can also be recycled via container deposit schemes.
1Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (2019) Polymer Coated Paperboard Working Group 2018