Milk Carton Recycling Guide
A Guide to Setting Up a Milk Carton Recycling Program
in an Elementary School Cafeteria
By: Matthew Rutman

  1. Introduction
  2. Creating a recycling Team
  3. Environmental Impact
  4. A Walk Through
  5. Resource List

1. Introduction:

This guide has been created to aid Elementary Schools in setting up a milk carton recycling program. Until recently most elementary schools had a recycling program that included cartons.
However, because of changes in the recycling industry, the process of milk carton recycling has changed significantly. The Pulp Mill could not process the carton because of contamination from the old process which included crushing and bagging the cartons. This manual will illustrate the new method approved by BRING Recycling, Weyerhaeuser, and Sanipac.

2. Creating a Recycling Program:

This program can be entirely student run by using students volunteers from the last lunch period (their recess time). A volunteer schedule for Student Recyclers can be posted in the cafeteria so they know when it is their turn to participate.
The only staff time needed is a few minutes daily to provide cleaning towels and buckets of soapy water.
The initial adoption of the program does require some planning, supervision, and training of students. This could be fulfilled by a Parent Volunteer, Teaching Assistant, or Custodian. In a week the program could be completely student managed.

3. Environmental Impacts:

This program makes a huge environmental impact and is amazingly simple and efficient.
According to Weyerhaeuser Paper Company, Approximately every three weeks of milk carton recycling at an Elementary School saves the following Resources:

4. A Walk Through:

1. At the end of each lunch period, students open the top of their carton all the way, all four corners.
2. Then, the students dumps out all the extra milk into a plastic 5 gallon bucket.

3. Finally, the students place their cartons upside down on the racks
4. At the end of the last lunch period, Members of the Recycling Team roll the cart to the outside recycling area, and dump the cartons into a container provided by Sanipac.
5. After the cartons are dumped, the Recycling Team removes the racks and wipes down the cart with a mild antibacterial soap and towels provided by the cafeteria staff or custodian.

References List:

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