Recycling Q&A: Can I Recycle Milk, Juice And Soup Cartons? (Yes!)

Recycling Q&A: Can I Recycle Milk, Juice And Soup Cartons? (Yes!)

  • Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series of recycling tips from Kane County Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jarland. Got a question or idea for a recycling tip? Contact Jarland at 630-208-3841 or

Today, we’re answering a question asked by multiple alert readers, and this time, I think you’re going to like the answer.

Q: Hey, Jennifer! Can I Recycle Milk, Juice And Soup Cartons?

A: In Kane County, Yes! Yes You Can!

In my Jan/Feb 2018 issue of Sierra Club Magazine, Bob Schildgen, aka Mr. Green, was responding to the question, “Hey Mr. Green! What, Exactly, Can I Recycle?” and I was happy to see that our message was (almost) completely in line!

There was only one item upon which we are not in agreement: cartons!

He puts soup cartons and juice boxes in the “universal no-no’s” list, but here in Kane County, and actually in much of the United States, we can in fact recycle cartons.

So, clearly NOT universally rejected!

Milk, juice and soup cartons are referred to as aseptic cartons in the industry lingo. They are not waxed cartons but are paper lined with plastic (or polyethylene), enabling them to be separated into the paper and plastic components. Both of those materials are recyclable once separated.

Also really cool is that you can screw the little plastic caps back on — and they will get recycled, too!

I do quite a few public presentations each year, and it seems there are always people surprised to learn that you can recycle your milk, juice and soup cartons. There is some confusion because they didn’t used to be recyclable, but now they are!

The Carton Council has been working on increasing the programs that accept, sort, market and process that material for some years now.

Check out these useful FAQs about carton recycling.

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