Uses for recycled milk cartons

I buy organic milk in cartons. For years I was mildly irritated that the wax coating on the paper carton made it a non recyclable item. I would smash it and toss it in the trash.

Recently, I purchased milk from Horizon Organics and noticed that there was a recycle notice on the box. Out of curiosity, I made a quick internet inquiry about the notice.

Lo and behold, the cartons for milk are changing and contrary to popular belief, milk and juice cartons can be recycled and are often accepted by curbside recycling programs. In Eastern Madera County, the cartons are accepted at the North Fork transfer station in bin No. 1.

Over the past 12 years the carton industry has worked at adjusting their packaging and have helped develop recycling processes that make it easier for them to separate the paper, wax and plastic used to make the carton.

You may not see a recycling symbol on the box yet, but you will soon as the Carton Council is working on getting all cartons stamped by the end of this year. In the meantime, milk and juice cartons are recyclable, though you’ll need to check with local private recycling centers to see if they’ll accept them.

Reuse and upcycle ideas

Before you put them in the recycling bin, there are many things you can use milk cartons for around the house and garden. Here are some ideas:

· Milk cartons are useful for a number of children’s crafts. Flower pots, traffic lights, blocks, windmills, and more can be made with them. They can be used as molds for melted crayon projects. Take some to the beach for making sand castles (do not leave on the beach).

· Store freezable liquids in empty milk cartons. You can make extra large ice blocks to put in your cooler for picnics and camping. When you have a large batch of soup, freeze some of it in a clean and empty milk carton to save for another day.

· Use one to water house plants.

· Cartons are great for starting seeds for your vegetable or flower garden.

· Create a protector for small plants by cutting the top and bottom off and placing the clean carton around the plant. is a community of green bloggers and activists. You can search “ideas for milk cartons” on this web-site to get more ideas, join in on the conversation, and even watch a video of a milk carton boat race.

Written by Judy Linda-Horn and submitted by Keep Our Mountains Beautiful. Contact KOMB at or follow its Facebook page.