Carton Council empowers MRFs1 with robotic sorting, boosting carton recycling efficiency

As a founding member of the Carton Council of North America, Tetra Pak plays a vital role in supporting recycling technology and local collection programs for cartons in the United States and Canada.

Overview of automated recycling facility

Image: An AMP Robotics recycling system

Background and initiative – supporting recycling in the US and Canada

Tetra Pak is a founding member of the Carton Council of North America, a non-profit organisation of carton manufacturers that works to support recycling technology and local collection programs in the U.S and Canada. As part of these efforts, the Carton Council offers grants to materials recovery facilities (MRFs) that take in and sort collected recyclables.

The results – innovation and technology for more efficient recycling

The grants allow MRFs to acquire different types of equipment to help sort cartons. More recently, that equipment started to include robotic systems that use artificial intelligence (AI) to sort cartons, increasing sorting efficiency and accuracy. MRFs can improve the capture of cartons to make bales of PSI Grade 52 (a commodity grade specific to recycled cartons), which then can go to full-carton recyclers or paper mills. Grade 52 can be used to make things like tissue products, printing and writing paper, paper cups, food-grade packaging, as well as building materials and moulded pulp products.

The Carton Council has provided multiple grants that have resulted in the deployment of AMP or other robotic systems in MRFs across the US in states including Florida, California, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. This has allowed MRFs to generate better quality bales of Grade 52 for recycling, which contributes to the circular economy1.

Looking forward – improving and increasing carton recycling infrastructure

The Carton Council continues to assist local and regional MRFs with infrastructure grants that will enable them to sort cartons into Grade 52. This results in more community access to carton recycling and a rise in the carton recycling rate.

1MRF (materials recovery facility) - is a plant that separates and prepares single-stream recycling materials to be sold to end buyers.

Robotic arm sorting cartons for recycling

Image: Robotic sorting systems use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to sort different recyclables accurately and efficiently


Carton Council

For more information
AMP Robotics is Reimagining Recycling

Tetra Pak contacts