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Frequently Asked Questions



Why can’t I leave the caps on the jugs?

Milk jugs are made from high-density polyethylene plastic (HDPE #2), which is one of the most valuable plastics for recycling purposes. The milk jug caps may be made from a different type of plastic, which cannot be recycled with the milk jug.

Why should I crush milk jugs and cartons before placing them in the recycling bins?

Milk containers are very bulky and take up a lot of volume with very little weight. By squashing each container, more containers, and therefore more weight, will fit into the recycling bin – this reduces program costs. Crushing your milk containers will also require less storage space in your home, blue box/bag, and recycling depot.

Why can’t I get a deposit back on the milk container?

The Milk Container Recycling Program is a voluntary program which simply means that there is no deposit paid on the milk container at time of purchase. A voluntary or non-deposit program keeps costs down for both the consumer and the dairy industry.

Can I recycle all sizes of plastic milk jugs and cardboard milk cartons?

All plastic milk jugs are recyclable. In some areas, cardboard milk cartons are recycled, but not in all areas. Check with your local waste management commission or region to understand what is recycled in your area.

How many milk containers does it take to make a tonne?

It takes approximately 16,000 four-litre milk jugs and approximately 15,500 two-litre milk cartons to make one tonne. This is very efficient milk packaging with each four-litre container weighting only 60 grams.

What happens to the plastic milk jugs that are collected and delivered to a plastic recycler?

The plastic milk jugs replace some of the new plastic used in the manufacture of many new plastic products. Plastic from recycled milk jugs is used in the manufacture of such items as: plastic pipe; drainage tile, flower pots, plastic dimensional lumber used to build picnic tables, patio furniture or decks; and in non-food packaging, such as plastic detergent bottles and lubricating oil pails.

What happens to the used milk cartons that are collected for recycling?

Milk cartons are “hydrapulped” to recover the valuable paper fibre from which they’re made. Hydrapulping is a process of soaking, heating, and agitating the used cartons in a giant blender (pulper). The resulting fibre can be used to make a variety of new paper products from cardboard boxes to fine tissue paper.

Why do some recycling authorities collect both jugs and cartons, while others collect only jugs?

Plastic milk jug recycling is a more “mature” industry, in part because market demand for HDPE has been stronger than demand for polycoat. Under the milk container recycling program, decisions about what materials will be collected are left to the recycling authorities.

How does this program benefit the environment?

Each year tonnes of garbage are hauled to municipal landfills. There are approximately 16,000 four-litre milk jugs in one tonne. It takes 2,640 full four-litre milk jugs to fill one 40 foot semi-trailer. In their original state, one tonne of milk jugs would fill just over six 40 foot semi-trailers. It is worthwhile to divert such bulky materials from the landfill. Recycling also reduces the consumption of hydrocarbon resources and the energy that would otherwise be required to produce new plastic.

   
 
 
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