There are two types of cartons: shelf-stable and refrigerated. The shelf-stable cartons contain a thin layer of aluminum which serves as an oxygen and light barrier. Products in this group include juice, soups and broth, wine, and soy and grain milk. Refrigerated cartons are made from paperboard (non-corrugated cardboard) and coated with a thin layer of polyethylene, a type of plastic. These cartons include milk, juice, cream, egg substitutes, and soy and grain milk cartons.
After cartons are collected they are taken to a material recovery facility to be sorted and baled. The bales are then shipped to paper mills, where cartons are mixed with water in a hydrapulper — like a giant kitchen blender — to extract all the paper fiber. These paper fibers are then made into products such as tissues, office paper and wall board.
Always call your hauler or recycling center first to make sure they accept cartons.