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[GreenYes] reply to paper cartons
hey Van,
  I did a big report and presentation on these milk cartons (AKA aseptic 
packaging) in my university.  I did experiments in our huge, very active 
school compost pile where i buried typical paper milk and juice cartons for 
a month and a half at least one and a half feet under the surface.  I 
shredded these cartons and they where exposed to 140 degree heat and 
moisture and all the microbial creatures 24 hours a day and they did not 
break down in the slightest!  ok, well they swelled just a little bit.  I 
also called many corporations and recycling facilities and there is a huge 
problem with recycling these things.  The best thing to do is just avoid 
this type of packaging, but i know this is the only thing that soy milk 
comes in.
  I lived in the Seattle city limits for a while and they did not recycle 
these things.  Municipalities that do recycle them have lots of trouble 
collecting enough of them fast enough to make it worth the efforts of the 
few paper mills that accept aseptic packaging.
  The mills that have the capabilities to deal with these things have 
hydrapulpers - A system that pulps the cartons and drink boxes and whatever 
else is constructed in the same way in water.  the plastic (polyethylene), 
alluminum (which is another material in the soy containers/drink boxes) and 
paper all seperate and go through different screens and filters.  I would 
guess for the most part the polyethylene is just thrown away, but it is 
claimed that it is recyclabe after this process (but tropicana told me 
that).
  You know what i do with paper cartons after all my research?  I use them 
as roof shigles on sheds and dog houses.  You cut out the thick bottom - 
throw it away (or get even more obsessively creative), flatten out the 
carton and you have four layers of polyethelyne (inside and outside are 
coated) that does not break down in the aforementioned experiment... it's 
bad packaging.
  Contact your local recycling coordinators and the aseptic packaging 
council to see if they are recycled around your area.  Also let the 
companies that use this packaging know that you are unsatisfied with their 
choice.
Good luck and be creative.
~mark barron


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