This post was sponsored by the Carton Council as part of an Ambassador Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
We all have turning points in our lives. Moments when we know that our lives will forever be changed.
One of those moments came for me when I was 11-years old. I was at Girl Scout summer camp all on my own. As a shy girl, it was something I did to push myself outside my comfort zone.
Looking back, my ending up at that exact camp at that exact time was meant to be. I met a camp counselor, whose name I can’t remember for the life of me, who changed my life.
She is the one who set me on my path to be a caretaker of the Earth. She taught me things about the environment and my place in it that no one had exposed me to before. It felt like a message I was supposed to receive.
From that moment forward, I was different. I knew that I had just discovered a piece of myself. I knew that I had to carry her message forward in my life, and I did.
When I came home, I taught my parents about recycling and insisted our family start (it turned out to be a good way to get a little extra cash too).
I organized the neighborhood kids to clean up the trash in our area. My 6th grade science project was designing a paper bag with paper handles (all paper bags “back then” had plastic handles or no handles). I did whatever I could think of to make a difference, no matter how small.
People always thought I was nuts because of how much I cared about the environment. I never cared because I knew how important it was.
I can’t tell you how happy I am that it’s now mainstream to care about the environment. That so many people care about and speak up for Mother Earth.
Since it is so much more common for people to be aware of their impact on the environment, businesses and government are catching up. And that’s awesome.
I remember when it was so incredibly hard to recycle cartons. You had to debate whether to get the plastic milk jug, which was recyclable, or the paper carton, which wasn’t recyclable because it was paper and plastic combined and the technology wasn’t there to easily separate it.
Now it’s not so complicated and you can and should recycle food and beverage cartons. Did you know that more than 62% of U.S. households in over 13,370 communities have access to curbside carton recycling now? These programs cover cartons that are used to package foods and beverages such as broths, soups, juice, milk, coconut and other waters, tomatoes wine, creamer and beans.
I like cartons for when we’re traveling on our frequent road trips. They weigh less than cans and they won’t break like glass. They also pack well with their size and weight. They are seriously great for camping.
That’s because cartons have an average of 93% product and only 7% packaging. That’s a great ratio compared to some other containers. When we use less, we can help preserve our planet’s precious resources and reduce our footprint.
Not to mention, if you are staying somewhere that doesn’t offer carton recycling, you can pop them in a trash bag in the trunk and take them home to recycle later. You don't have to worry about flattening your carton because its 3D shape actually helps sorters at recycling facilities to recognize cartons.
I believe it’s important for our kids to see us doing these things. If you tell them how they should make good decisions for the environment, then they see you doing the opposite, they will look to your actions before your words.
While you're modeling behavior to your kids, it's a great idea to also teach them why they're doing it. What happens behind the scenes is pretty interesting.
It's neat to see how cartons can be recycled into other paper products or chemical-free, environmentally-friendly building materials. The Carton Council has a cool video that you can show your kids how recycled cartons become new products. It’s a fun lesson.
I appreciate how the Carton Council is working to build a sustainable system for carton recycling across the country. It’s time they stop ending up in landfills!
Thanks to their work, more communities are offering carton recycling every day. To see if it’s available in your town, check out the zip code locator at recyclecartons.com, or call your local program to ask.
Do you recycle cartons at home or on the go?