Carton Council, Tetra Pak, and Michigan organisations collaborate to enhance carton recycling infrastructure in the US

Michigan, USA witnessed improvements in carton recycling infrastructure, thanks to a collaborative effort involving the Carton Council, Tetra Pak and local organisations. The initiative aims to enhance the recycling of post-consumer food and beverage cartons in the region.

Background and initiative – cooperating to improve carton recycling in Michigan

Through a collaboration between the Carton Council, Tetra Pak and Michigan-based organisations, new equipment was installed at the Great Lakes Tissue Company, significantly boosting the facility’s carton-processing capacity. The upgraded equipment allows the paper mill to efficiently process more cartons, improving recycling rates and contributing towards a more sustainable waste management system.

The results – more capacity, efficient transport and lower GHG emissions

Besides increasing the recycling capacity of the facility, the innovative new equipment upgrades enable the removal of 75% more water from the polyAlmaterial during the recycling process. As a result, the weight of the polyAl material is reduced, leading to more efficient transportation and thereby reduced transport-related GHG emissions. The captured water is then reused in the recycling process, saving water and promoting more responsible water use. Once processed, the polyAl material is sent to St. Mary's Cement in Charlevoix, Michigan to offset the use of coal as fuel, further mitigating pollution and GHG emissions.

Looking ahead – a blueprint for cooperation and responsibility

The successful enhancements in carton recycling infrastructure serve as a blueprint for future improvements in other regions. The collaboration between Carton Council, Tetra Pak, and local organisations sets a positive example of industry cooperation for responsible waste management. Continuing these efforts and forging additional cooperative initiatives will lead to further advancements in carton recycling and contribute to a more responsible and sustainable packaging industry in the US and beyond.

1The non-fibre component of carton packages is known as polyAl, which designates the layers of polyolefins and aluminium being used as barrier against oxygen and humidity to protect the food content in aseptic carton packages.

Polyal pellets


Companies involved:
Carton Council, Great Lakes Tissue Company and St. Mary Cement

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