22 April 2017
By Carton Council Editorial Team
Ever since the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, people across the world have marked the day (and the month, for that matter) in many ways – from acknowledging environmental issues or making a new environmental commitment, to taking some time to reflect on our efforts and just how far we have come. Allow us to do that here today.

We at Carton Council are particularly proud by the progress our industry has made around carton recycling. It’s no easy task to build out a recycling infrastructure and raise awareness for a commodity only being recycled by a small number of communities—in our case food and beverage carton packaging. That was 2009 and at the time, only 18 percent of Americans could recycle food and beverage cartons where they lived. Now, thanks to a lot of hard work and extensive collaboration with local governments, material recycling facilities, haulers and papers mills, 60 percent of Americans can recycle our packages where they live. This means more than 67.7 million homes can recycle cartons through curbside or drop-off programs, representing a 233 percent increase since our efforts began.

Recycling is one of the easiest ways to be green, and recent research shows that 90 percent of Americans believe recycling is important and people should do what they can to recycle. It’s also increasingly clear that consumers expect brands and companies to do the same:
  • 91 percent of consumers say they expect food and beverage brands to actively help increase the recycling of their packages.
  • 67 percent of consumers said they would assume a package is not recyclable if it did not have a recycling symbol or language on it.
  • 77 percent report considering the effect of their purchase on the environment.
Consumers believe companies play an important role when it comes to sustainability. We want to ensure that brands, retailers and consumers understand that cartons are recyclable. The more people KNOW, the more they will DO.

Earth Day presents a natural time to celebrate those who are working hard to make our planet, our country and even our neighborhoods more sustainable. It’s also an excellent time to recommit to initiatives and double down where progress is being made. We’d like to challenge all of our partners, including the brands and retailers who touch consumers every day to remain committed as well. Together, we can be unstoppable.

Happy Earth Day everyone.

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