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Are Milk Cartons Recyclable?

recycle milk cartons

Yes! Contrary to popular belied milk and juice cartons ARE recyclable and are often accepted by curbside recycling programs.  Find out if your city accepts milk cartons at  Over th past 10 years the carton industry has worked very hard to adjust their packaging to make it recyclable and have helped develop recycling processes that make it easier to separate the paper and plastic the carton is made of. 

Also, don't worry if you don't see a recycling symbol on the box. The Carton Council is working on getting that stamped on all cartons by 2015.  In the mean time, you are still able to recycle ALL milk and juice cartons.

Reuse and Upcycle Ideas for Milk Cartons: Before you put it in the recycling bin, there are lots of things you can use milk cartons for around the house.  Here are some ideas:

  • There are endless kids crafts that can be made out of milk cartons, including flower pots, traffic lights, blocks, windmills, and more.  Check out a list with instructions here
  • Store freezable liquids in an empty milk carton.  Make an extra large batch of soup, open the top of the carton (and clean it!), pour in the soup and put it in the freezer.  You can also make extra large ice blocks to put in your cooler for picnics and camping.
  • Use it as a watering can for house plants.
  • Use it as a seed starter for planting fruits, vegetables, and other plants in. 
  • Create a protector for small plants by cutting the top and bottom off and placing the (clean) carton around the plant. This will make it more difficult for bugs to crawl up and eat your plants.
  • Many more craft, indoor, and outdoor uses for milk cartons here.


Check out the annual Milk Carton boat race in Latvia, where 30 teams race in boats made out of thousands of milk cartons!! Talk about recycling!!