Frequently Asked Questions
Why can’t I leave the caps on
Milk jugs are made from
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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.