Thanks to the boost in available recycling services, the total number of American households with the ability to recycle their cartons, instead of pitching them in the trash, has risen to nearly 57m.
Jason Pelz, vice president of recycling projects for the Carton Council and vice president of environment for Tetra Pak North America, told FoodProductionDaily the increased access is good news for the food and packaging industries, and for the planet.
“This tremendous momentum we are seeing is indicative of the growing demand and need for carton recycling across the entire country,” he said. “As we celebrate Earth Day, we should also celebrate the gains in making it easier to recycle cartons.”
Considering the expansion in recycling access, the Carton Council anticipates 55% of Americans will be able to recycle their food and beverage cartons by the end of the year.
Waste programs in several states expanded their carton recycling efforts. South Dakota became the 46th state to offer carton recycling. New York State added access for 180,000 households, increasing statewide access to 72%; Ohio increased access by 174,000, boosting statewide access from 59% to 63%.
Additionally, several states and municipalities have achieved very high carton recycling access rates. Rhode Island, Washington DC, and Delaware reportedly attain 100% access rates; Connecticut hit 94%, Maryland reached 89%, and Arizona hit 86%.
Earth Day, April 22, is an annual event designed to increase awareness of and support for environmental issues. First commemorated in 1970, the campaign targets issues around increased recycling, water conservation, animal protection, and other topics.