Carton Council striving to push access to U.S. curbside carton recycling to 50% by 2020, up from 36% now, needs to educate public, convince recyclers to add cartons to more collection systems, says group spokesperson

LOS ANGELES , December 13, 2011 () – The Carton Council, which is backed by five major carton manufacturers, aims to push access to U.S. curbside recycling for cartons to 50% by 2020, up from 36% now, said a spokesperson, reported Food Production Daily on Dec. 13.

To reach this goal, there needs to be an “infrastructure and mindset change,” said the spokesperson, who noted that cartons were excluded from curbside recycling programs in the U.S. for many years.

Recently, the Vernon Hills, Illinois-based council touted improved access to curbside collection, which is the major stumbling block for carton recycling, said the spokesperson, who was not identified, Food Production Daily reported.

Recycling of the cartons, which are used for shelf-stable and refrigerated packaging of beverages and liquid foods, has been on the rise. Only 1% of the U.S. population had access to curbside recycling for cartons just two years ago.

Through the council’s Carton Recycling Access Campaign, cartons have been added to more than 2,000 recycling programs in the U.S., reported Food Production Daily.

Recently, the council joined with Earth911, a U.S. Internet resource for recycling information, to help inform the public about cartons, said the council spokesperson.

In developing its consumer awareness campaigns, the council aims to deliver simple messages about how cartons are recyclable and help to link the public with recycling services, the spokesperson said, Food Production Daily reported.

The council has worked to boost recycling rates, to ensure processors and sorters have needed equipment and to make certain brokers were available to help move the recovered cartons to mills.

Since 2009, the number of North American mills processing cartons has increased to nine from one, and equipment has been added to about 50 sorters, said the spokesperson, reported Food Production Daily.

Data to help determine U.S. carton recycling rates is not collected, but the council is working to remedy that, said the spokesperson, adding that cartons make up less than 1% of municipal solid waste and less than 15% is recovered.

Members of the Carton Council include Norway-based Elopak AS, Tetra Pak International SA of Switzerland, the U.S.-based Evergreen Packaging Inc. and SIG Combibloc Group, which is part of New Zealand’s Rank Group Ltd. U.S.-based Weyerhaeuser Co. is an associate member, Food Production Daily reported.

The primary source of this article is Food Production Daily, Montpellier, France, on Dec. 13, 2011.

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