When we think of beverage container recycling in Canada, most of us probably think of big bags of sticky aluminum cans and the clinking of beer bottles. But recycling has come a long way in the last couple of decades! The technology used at processing facilities has greatly improved, allowing for easy recycling of mixed-material items like our paper-based Rumble carton. Across Canada, 60% of food and beverage cartons are recycled or recovered, yet 97% of Canadians have access to carton recycling in their communities. Clearly, we can do better! Tell you friends, tell your coworkers, tell your great aunt: cartons are recyclable! Here’s what you need to know.
All About the Rumble Carton
We all know recycling isn’t just about reducing waste, but also minimizing our carbon footprint and preserving raw materials. When we had to choose new packaging for Rumble, it was super important to us to pick the most environmentally-friendly option out there. This meant taking into account the raw materials, water, and energy used to produce the packaging, the weight and dimensions for shipping it, and what happens after it’s thrown into the recycling bin.
When we looked at all the options, we saw that paper-based cartons totally outperform plastic bottles when it comes to sustainability. Paper-based cartons, like the new Rumble Supershake SIG carton, ship to our production partner flat in big rolls, which greatly reduces the number of trucks (and the gas needed) to move them. They’re also made with paper board sourced from FSC-certified, renewable forests, and consume less water during production than plastic. Paper fibre can be recycled more times over than plastic, which degrades quicker when recycled. But what about glass, you ask? It turns out that paper-based cartons are better than glass bottles for a drink like Rumble, since glass is heavy (and thus carbon intensive to ship), and getting more and more difficult to successfully recycle.
The Rumble carton is officially classified as an ‘aseptic’ beverage carton. It’s similar to a juice box in it’s material makeup: 75% paper board, 4% aluminum (for protection from light, odour, and oxygen), and 21% polyethelene (the coating that provides a liquid barrier). The entire carton, including the cap, is recyclable in most communities, since processing facilities are able to separate the paper board from the aluminum from the plastics.
How to Recycle your Rumble
There are only two easy steps to give your Rumble cartons a new life:
- Put in your Blue Box or return to your closest recycling depot, or drop it in any public recycling bin labelled ‘Containers’. You can leave the cap on.
Each province and municipality across Canada has different rules and regulations for their community recycling programs. Check with your municipality to find out if your Blue Box/residential recycling program accepts aseptic beverage cartons. If it doesn’t, you can collect and return your Rumble cartons to your nearest recycling depot.
Cheat sheet if you live in the following cities:
Victoria: accepted in your Blue Box
Vancouver: accepted in your Blue Box
Calgary: accepted in your blue cart
Edmonton: accepted in your blue bin
Saskatoon: accepted in your blue cart
Regina: accepted in your blue cart
Winnipeg: accepted in your blue cart
London: accepted in your Containers Blue Box
Kitchener-Waterloo: accepted in your Blue Box
Hamilton: accepted in your Blue Box
Toronto: accepted in your Blue Bin
Ottawa: accepted in your Blue Bin
Montreal: accepted in your Blue Bin
Halifax: accepted in your Blue Bag (remove caps)
What Happens Next
Municipal and provincial recycling programs ship their hauls to a handful of centralized facilities (the facility for BC is in New Westminster) to sort and group cartons for processing. Sorted cartons are bundled and shipped to specialized paper mills across North America, where they are put through a large machine called a hydrapulper, which is kind of like a giant mixer. The hydrapulper uses water and friction to create a big, grey slurry, separating the cartons into their different parts: paper fibre, aluminum, and plastic.
The recycled paper fibre pulp is turned into toilet paper, paper towel, office paper, egg cartons, and other paper-based products. About 50% of the plastic and aluminum from cartons also ends up being recycled (globally), into pallets, flower pots, wall tiles, ceiling tiles, and other items. It’s also used as energy to fuel the paper mills.