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Cast Out Carton Confusion!

Date: 17-Oct-13

Some of these myths about carton recycling are as big as this one! © Janet Sparrow

Some of these myths about carton recycling are as big as this one!

Carton confusion can cause them to end up in landfill rather than the recycling bin. Here are 3 common myths about milk and juice cartons that we intend to bust.

Cartons are not recyclable:


Cartons are made mostly of cardboard which can be turned into new products. A 1-litre Tetra Pak fresh milk carton for instance is made up of 88% cardboard, a renewable resource. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) labelled Tetra Pak packages are on the increase globally with 26.4 billion produced in 2012, up from 18.4 billion in 2011. Most councils in Australia accept cartons for recycling. To find out about services and drop off locations in your local area, visit or call the National Recycling Hotline on 1300 733 712.

You can leave the lid on:

Mostly false!

Always check with your council to be sure, but your best bet is to leave the top off. Lids can cause problems for the recycling machinery and makes the process less efficient. Removing straws and rinsing empty cartons can also assist in the recycling process. Whilst lids are usually not for the recycling bin, their environmental credentials are improving with Tetra Pak introducing Green Plastic into their caps. Unlike regular plastic that is made from fossil fuels, these caps are made from ethanol distilled from sugar cane.

Cartons are wax coated:


Cartons do not contain any wax at all. Milk and juice cartons are made from a material called liquid paperboard (LPB), which is constructed from cardboard with layers of plastic, and in the case of long-life products, a thin layer of aluminium foil. For more than 40 years LPB has been used to package a wide range of foods including milk, juices, cream, custard, sauces and soups.

Find out more

For more information about cartons and other recyclable materials, check out our factsheets.

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