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RE: [GreenYes] Plastic-Coated Cartons
Thanks for bringing this up Van,
For the few mills that do take polycoated cartons in their "anything that
tears" spec, the plastic coating generally does not get recycled into new
plastic products.  
One option for the really low grade recovered papers is paper derived fuel
pellets.  Some mills are getting into this with their sludge and light
material that has been screened out of the pulper (waxed OCC, carrier stock,
plastic film such as bags, tape, and barrier coatings).  When burned at high
temperature in stoker-fed coal-fired boilers, paper pellets or cubes make an
attractive supplemental fuel that can provide some cost advantages and
emission reductions.  Here's an example;  
City Carton, a major paper packer in Iowa, started producing fiber fuel
cubes as a way to cut losses on the nonrecyclable paper culled from their
sorting and baling operations, and is now pursuing outside sources of
nonrecyclable paper, such as feed bags.  An Air Force base in Alaska is
producing cubes from all of their paper and light plastic waste, with
significant savings on fuel cost and waste disposal.  As long as PVC is
avoided, burning plastic waste is no worse a fuel than the oil it was
derived from, and recycled fuels are definitely preferable to virgin fuels,
be they fossil or biomass.
Jay Donnaway
State Recycling Coordinator
Georgia Department of Community Affairs
60 Executive Park South, NE
Atlanta, GA 30329-2231
TEL: 404-679-3161
FAX:  404-679-0646

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Van Calvez []
> Sent:	Tuesday, September 25, 2001 9:30 PM
> To:	GreenYes
> Subject:	[GreenYes] Plastic-Coated Cartons
> Hi Folks,
> Does anyone know if plastic coated milk cartons (and other cardboard
> packaging) can be recycled somewhere in the US?
> Other examples include ice cream cartons (even Ben&Jerry's "ecopint") and
> paper soft drink cups.
> Most of these things used to be covered in wax (which made them
> compostable
> at least).
> Now they seem to be covered with the thinnest layer of plastic.
> What I most dislike about this is that the plastic coating is almost
> undetectable
> and can create a perception among consumers
> that the product is compostable (in a compost pile), and therefore, more
> environmentally-friendly than polystyrene.
> If there is recycling of the plastic-coated containers, does the plastic
> get
> recycled as well or just thrown away?
> Many thanks!
> signed,
> Van "The Soy Milk Cartons Are Stacking Up" Calvez
> Human~Nature Solutions
> Bainbridge, WA
> P.S. despite all the grumbling and the endless messages, I love this
> listserve!
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