How to recycle a2 Milk® cartons

The milk carton has been around since the early 1900s. Since then, it has gone through many changes to become a cultural staple in our homes. But don’t confuse these cartons with takeout and single-use containers that can’t be recycled. Milk cartons are more sustainable options and help to keep millions of tons of plastic out of landfills each year. However, recycling your cartons may not be as easy as you think. In this article, you’ll discover how to recycle paper milk cartons and keep them part of a continual, sustainable life cycle.

Why Are Milk Cartons Better for the Environment?

Paper milk cartons are good for the environment because the same amount of product can be shipped in fewer trucks versus other packaging types. Approximately 94% of carton packaging is product while 6% is packaging, compared to a package-to-product ratio of 10% or more for other types of products. This means less greenhouse gas emissions and fewer fossil fuels used. 

A low packaging percentage also means less waste ends up in the landfill and you get more product for your money. These cartons can also be recycled and made into tissues, paper towels, printing materials, and sustainable building materials. 


How Do I Recycle Paper Milk Cartons?

Unlike paperboard cereal boxes, paper milk cartons are hybrids of plastic, aluminum, and 74%-80% paper. Due to this, milk cartons require special recycling programs. The extra layers of aluminum and polyethylene provide moisture protection and keep the contents fresh. 

Before recycling your a2 Milk® cartons, check with your local government to see how cartons are handled in your area. Some recycling programs require washing the container and removing the plastic cap while others require breaking down the cartons and bundling them. And some localities don’t require anything but tossing them in the recycling bin.

Recycling helps to preserve natural resources and prevent millions of tons of waste from being landfilled. The Carton Council provides funding for recycling programs throughout Canada and the US, opening up capabilities for more governments to recycle paper milk cartons. 


Do Milk Cartons Go into the Paper or Plastic Recycling Bin?

Because they contain a thin polyethylene layer, cartons should go into the plastic bin, not paper. However, some programs don’t require presorting.


Are a2 Milk® Cartons Compostable?

a2 Milk® cartons are not compostable. Though our containers are mostly paper, the thin layer of plastic that protects the product is not able to be composted. 


How Can I Repurpose Paper Milk Cartons?

If you’re crafty, or up for the challenge, the ideas for repurposing paper milk cartons are endless. With a little paint, scrap paper, and ingenuity, you can make something that is as beautiful as it is functional.

Craft projects are also great ideas for family bonding. Try these today to repurpose your a2 Milk® cartons.


  • Water-resistant planters
  • Bird feeders
  • Cute gift boxes for candy or small trinkets
  • Coin banks
  • Shadowboxes
  • Duct tape lanterns


Starting a sustainability habit can be as easy as sorting your waste out by type, either into landfill or recycling. When it comes to recycling paper milk cartons, checking your local recycling programs is a small step to ensuring your cartons get a second life. We at a2 Milk® believe in sustainable practices from the farm to the table. That’s why we strive to make our products guilt-free and easier on your tummy. Find a2 Milk® at a grocer near you.


The a2 Milk® difference

Our a2 Milk® comes from cows that naturally produce only the natural A2 protein. a2 Milk® is 100% real milk that’s easier on digestion and may help some avoid discomfort.

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