Supporting Policy Tools

At the Carton Council, we focus on increasing the recycling of food and beverage cartons. This includes expanding recycling infrastructure so more consumers have access to carton recycling. Additionally, we support efforts that improve and increase the recycling of all post-consumer packaging. Check out our policy toolkit materials here

The Carton Council believes that well-crafted and executed best management practices and ordinances, or policies at the local, county and state levels are key to maximizing recycling. Governments nationwide have implemented a variety of programs and initiatives to help expand recycling opportunities and increase participation.

Here are a few considerations for utilizing best management practices or policies to help achieve overall recycling success:

  1. Review data, track performance, and provide feedback. Local governments need proper reporting and analysis of data to track their recycling efforts. This monitoring can also extend to private haulers, businesses, multi-family dwellings, and schools. Understanding current performance is key to improving your recycling performance.
  2. Consider using best management practices and/or policies in combination to maximize efforts. For example, requiring trash haulers to collect recyclables and to establish Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) fee systems can create powerful incentives for residents to recycle.
  3. Adopt best management practices that promote convenience and ease of recycling. Residents are most likely to recycle when it is made available city/community-wide, it includes a comprehensive list of accepted materials, sufficiently sized recycling containers are provided, collection is as or more frequent than trash collection, and a separate recycling fee is not charged.
  4. Encourage participation through monitoring, feedback and technical assistance, with penalties used as a last resort. Enforcement should not be draconian, but rather based on an incremental process that initially informs, encourages and supports participation. Before refusing service or imposing fines, provide effective communication and possibly workshops to ensure the program is fully understood.
  5. Clearly define expectations and responsibilities. State and local governments with clearly defined participation and expectations are more likely to have successful programs. Stakeholders need to understand the rules and expectations and who is responsible for what in order for new policies to take hold and be effective.
  6. Identify champions to promote policies and shepherd their adoption. Champions can be critical to drafting successful policies, building support for them and getting them passed. Identify well-respected, influential local leaders to craft the language, engage key stakeholders, build the necessary coalitions and propel proposals through the community or legislative process. Additionally, identify community leaders or lawmakers who will be your champion(s) in introducing and supporting ordinances or legislation through your local government.

We have informational briefs available for download as part of our policy toolkit on the following topics:

Strong Recycling Programs Benefit the Economy and the Environment

Sample Ordinances That Boost Recycling

Pay-as-You-Throw: A Proven Way to Reduce Waste, Increase Recycling and Reduce Disposal Costs

Mandatory Provision of Recycling Service Through Hauler Permitting/Licensing

Moving Toward Universal Recycling

How to Implement a Local Ordinance to Increase Recycling

Carton Council Policy Infographic (JPG)

Carton Council Policy Infographic (PDF)

Please contact us at if you would like further information, are interested in becoming involved in our efforts or have ideas you would like to share about how to advance recycling.