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The Package, Website and Education Remain Key to Increasing Recycling Participation

By Larine Urbina, Vice President of Communications for the Carton Council

For those hoping to get a recycling boost this America Recycles Day, new research reinforces the power of the package. According to recent research, commissioned by the Carton Council of North America, the vast majority of consumers (75%) said they would assume a package is NOT recyclable if it does not contain a recycling logo or recycling information on it.

In addition to product packaging, local community websites are the most relied upon source for consumers getting recyclability information, reinforcing the importance of keeping local websites updated accepted materials easy to find. The research also shows that other areas are gaining importance, including social media, news, influencers and advocacy groups, reinforcing the importance of recycling education information for all audiences.

Good news! The Carton Council efforts seem to be making an impact. Confidence that food and beverage cartons are definitely accepted for curbside recycling programs increased from 48% in 2020, to 55% in 2022. And the percentage of consumers who report they always recycle their food and beverage cartons increased from 45% in 2020 to 51% in 2022. Of the respondents who said they do not recycle their cartons, 42% said it is because they aren’t certain they are accepted in their local program. This tells us that we can’t let up on our education initiatives and we have to work diligently with other recycling stakeholders to ensure cartons are accurately represented in their education communications as well.

To help with this, the Carton Council has tools and resources for companies and brands as well as communities. We also launched our new address locator to easily check and see if carton recycling is avalaible at your home address. While the Carton Council continues our work to grow the infrastructure so food and beverage cartons are accepted in more communities across the country, it’s important to provide consumers with a tool so they can easily check to see if cartons are accepted in their local program. We encourage others to link and direct people to the address locator to check local carton recycling availability.

Thank you to everyone for your support of recycling this America Recycles Day and every day!