Cartons, Containers, Coffee Oh My!

You recycle paper, and you’ve done it for ages.  Newspaper, magazines, office paper, you’ve got it all dialed.  But let me guess, there’s some things you’re not sure of.  Like milk cartons, soy milk containers, and paper coffee cups – these are all paper too, right?

Yes, technically they are.  But here’s the deal: they are not widely recyclable.  And here’s why.

All these items are mixed materials – paper and plastic – meant to repel liquids or moisture.  Now imagine little bits of this kind of paper shredded up as part of the paper pulp meant to make new paper – all these little bits doing their job repelling water!  In short, these items can only be recycled with proper equipment that most paper mills don’t currently have.  These items are not recyclable locally, and should be put in the trash.

Here’s a list of PAPER products you can recycle locally:

  • Newspaper
  • Magazines
  • Mail (plastic windows on envelopes are ok)
  • Office and looseleaf paper
  • Junk mail and advertisements
  • Paperboard (think cereal boxes, 6 pack holders)
  • Cardboard (flattened)


Here’s a list of PAPER NOT recyclable locally:

  • Milk cartons
  • Soy milk cartons (called aseptic containers, you can also find lost of soup in these cartons now too)
  • Frozen Food boxes (frozen pizza boxes, ice cream cartons, etc)
  • Paper cups and most paper plates
  • Paper with glitter, glue and paint


Got another paper recycling question?  Contact us!

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