What do you mean I can't recycle that milk carton?!? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 07-02-2010, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was taking my recyclables to the dump yesterday and the attendant stopped me and told me that I could not recycle a cardboard milk carton because the paper is coated in wax and it has a little plastic ring at the opening at the top. What, really? I've been putting milk cartons in the bin for as long as I've been buying milk in cartons.

So has anyone ever heard this before? What can I do?
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#2 of 21 Old 07-02-2010, 09:55 AM
 
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I haven't heard of that it can't be recycled at all, but I have heard that different recycling facilities can only handle certain types. So perhaps what she meant was that their facility isn't equipped to handle that type of carton. You might need to look around to find someplace that can handle it to take them.

Or it could be that she was totally right, I am not super educated on recycling to know everything about it
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#3 of 21 Old 07-02-2010, 10:53 AM
 
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We were told the same thing here--wax and the plastic spout.

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#4 of 21 Old 07-02-2010, 01:00 PM
 
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It depends on the facility. My county facility accepts just about anything now, but just last year didn't accept cardboard milk cartons or juice boxes.

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#5 of 21 Old 07-02-2010, 01:14 PM
 
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We have the world's pickiest garbage/recycling collectors here. Pretty much every week either my garbage or my recycles are not taken 'cause of something they don't like that I put in there.

I tend to just put it out again the next week & they usually take it then. I think sometimes they just get in a mood & want to be difficult.

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#6 of 21 Old 07-02-2010, 04:47 PM
 
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Just because you've put it in the bin doesn't actually mean it is being recycled. Maybe it is what kills an entire batch of things to be recycled!

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#7 of 21 Old 07-03-2010, 11:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mumm View Post
Just because you've put it in the bin doesn't actually mean it is being recycled. Maybe it is what kills an entire batch of things to be recycled!
Oh, gee, thanks...
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#8 of 21 Old 07-05-2010, 07:49 AM
 
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I just mean to think past the recycle bin. About what happens further down the line. It isn't helpful if you are "successful" in recycling more of your stuff if it actuality it isn't really being recycled, kwim?

I know someone irl who is so proud of getting things past the dump matron (is that a real title? the lady who helps make sure your items go in the right bins) that she is missing the point completely.


I sometimes wonder if I am using resources wisely when I spend a gallon of water washing a small item so it can be recycled. Which would be wiser, using the water or tossing the item?

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#9 of 21 Old 07-06-2010, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not trying to sneak anything past anybody. I did not make this post to whine about getting "caught". There are no guidelines posted at my dump for what can and cannot be recycled. I only know what types of plastics are accepted by word of mouth. I never considered there would be guidelines for paper products because as far as I knew, paper is paper and paper is recyclable.

And I wash my recyclables with the dishes, btw. Wiser to use the water that's already in the sink.
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#10 of 21 Old 07-07-2010, 12:01 PM
 
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You can check here to see if your facility recycles cartons. The facility I use in VA recycles cartons in with their mixed paper, so the wax coating and the plastic spout aren't a problem b/c they accept the envelopes w/ the plastic window

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#11 of 21 Old 07-12-2010, 10:01 PM
 
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My town has a website with a list of what can and can't be recycled. Plenty of things are theoretically recyclable (such as cardboard boxes) that aren't recycled by the town (and thus can't be put out for curbside recycling.) I printed out the page with the information and put it on my kitchen wall, so we can refer to it as needed.

My town doesnt' recycle milk cartons or "drink boxes", even though the Rice Dream website has lots of information about how their packaging is (in theory) recyclable. Not here!

I keep this information in mind when I go shopping. Given the choice between milk in a plastic jug (recyclable) or milk in a carton (not recyclable), I'll choose the jug (all other things being equal- sometimes the lower cost item wins out over eco-responsibility.)

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#12 of 21 Old 07-18-2010, 10:37 PM
 
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We are in Northern CA and we have two huge recycle garbage cans and one very small garbage can. I recycle everything that is glass, plastic, alum, paper. Our recycle trucks have a big arm that grabs the can and dumps it, so it's not like anybody ever gets out and looks in the bin first. I figure if it can't be recycled they will deal with it at the recycling plant.

OP, that is absurd that they can't recycle a paper milk carton! I would assume somebody in your area could?

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#13 of 21 Old 07-18-2010, 11:23 PM
 
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I think it varies by location and what they can process/sell. Our region accepts milk cartons and lists them on their "what you can recycle" guide so I assume they have some way to deal with them without causing problems.
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#14 of 21 Old 07-18-2010, 11:42 PM
 
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Huh. As far as I know waste management here accepts paper milk/juice cartons. Its not on the list of things they don't take. We also just have the curbside recycling where the big green truck with an arm grabs and dumps our bin. I don't quite understand the issue with something being included that they won't recycle. Our huge bin is mixed in with all the neighbors, so I imagine they toss individual items when it comes time to sort.

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#15 of 21 Old 07-22-2010, 08:38 PM
 
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I am fortunate enough to live somewhere that compostables (food waste and food soiled paper, cardboard, etc) get picked up with yardwaste...including cardboard milk cartons. I know that most places don't have this yet, but if you have compost in your yard, maybe you could cut the plastic ring out of the top and compost it yourself.
Also, do any of the grocery stores in your area have glass milk bottles? Around here, one farm (that is sold even at big chains) has glass bottles: you pay 1.85 extra for the bottle and you get it back when you return it. All that gets wasted is the plastic cap (which cannot be recycled, they can damage the machines at the recycling center apparently).
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#16 of 21 Old 07-22-2010, 09:35 PM
 
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Ours takes envelopes with the plastic window, but not milk cartons or any waxed drink cartons.

Makes no sense to me.

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#17 of 21 Old 07-23-2010, 02:43 PM
 
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Our facility does not recycle milk cartons either.

Another one that REALLY bugs me is coffee cans.
They used to be metal and I was cool with that! I re-use them for so many things, plus they are definitely recyclable. And then they changed to be more "earth friendly" as it says on the container - it's a foil coated cardboard that is definitely NOT accepted in our area to be recycled, PLUS I cannot re-purpose them for nearly as many things as the cardboard does degrade.
What a PITA.

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#18 of 21 Old 07-25-2010, 05:22 PM
 
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Wow, our recycle bins (not curbside) aren't even well known about in the community, I found them on accident lol. The ONLY things they take are corrugated cardboard, plastic, and newspaper. It sucks. There are only 3 carton recycling places in the whole state according to that site, and they are all 4+hrs north

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#19 of 21 Old 07-26-2010, 10:11 AM
 
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living in Japan where all of your trash has to be recycled or else the garbage men bring it to your doorstep. The plastic ring on the milk carton needs to be removed and put into the plastics bag and taken out on plastic day. The metal piece on the tin foil box needs to be removed and put into the metals bag and taken out on metals day. I don't know why they wouldn't take the milk carton just because it is coated in wax, but maybe try removing the plastic ring and seeing what they say, and if it's still a no maybe suggest they have a bin specifically for the wax coated cartons, there are enough of them between juices, milk, and whatever else.
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#20 of 21 Old 07-26-2010, 10:25 AM
 
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Our city just re-vamped there recycling system. It used to all separate. Paper/cardboard/cans/plastic bottles/plastic bags.
Now there are only 3 bins.
#1 has cardboard with the wave piece in the middle( coragated?)
#2 has paper and regular boxboard( think cereal boxes)
#3 has all recyclable metal, plastic bottles,milk cartons, juice box type bottles, plastic bags.

They just started accepting milk cartons and juice box type containers after they re-did the system( I think its been a year now). And I love it. I only need 2 recycling bins which is great for me/saves space. I wish we had recycling pick-up at the curb but we do have alot of depots around the city. Our closest one is only a few blocks away

One thing I really wish we could recycle is glass. They used to take it years ago but now they say there isn't a market for it

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#21 of 21 Old 08-12-2010, 09:19 PM
 
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We live in an area were we can recylce almost everything but we cannot recycle milk cartons that have the plastic spout. If I recall the packaging is closer to a tetra pack than a traditional milk carton. We switched to a slightly more expensive brand that didn't use them.
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