Are Milk Cartons Recyclable?

Yes, milk cartons are recyclable in British Columbia. In fact now you can return your milk cartons for a full deposit of 10 cents. These cartons are generally made from a type of paperboard called polycoat, which includes layers of paper and plastic, and sometimes an aluminum lining, designed to preserve the freshness of the contents.

How To Prepare Your Milk Cartons For Recycling:

Before recycling milk cartons, it’s important to rinse them out thoroughly to remove any residue. This helps prevent contamination in the recycling process and reduce bad odor.

10 Cent Deposit Milk Containers

How Are Milk Cartons Recyclized?

In British Columbia, Canada, milk cartons are recycled through a comprehensive and efficient recycling program. Here’s a breakdown of the process:

Collection & Sorting:

Residents can bring their milk containers to Regional Recycling for a full refund or put them in the blue bin. Milk cartons are considered a type of “gable top” or “aseptic” container, depending on their design. Collected recyclables are transported to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF). At the MRF, milk cartons are sorted from other recyclables using various techniques such as manual sorting, screens, and optical sorters.


Sorted milk cartons are baled and shipped to a recycling facility. The recycling facility typically uses a hydropulping process, which involves mixing the cartons with water to separate the paper fibers from the plastic and aluminum layers.

Fiber Recovery:

The paper fibers are recovered and used to produce new paper products, such as tissue paper, paper towels, and cardboard. The plastic and aluminum by-products from the hydropulping process are further processed. The plastic can be recycled into new plastic products, while the aluminum can be extracted and recycled separately.

The recycling of milk cartons in British Columbia is part of the province’s Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program, which ensures that producers of packaging are responsible for its end-of-life management. This system encourages manufacturers to design more recyclable products and contributes to higher recycling rates and reduced environmental impact.