Can You Recycle Ice Cream Cartons?

Common Types Of Ice Cream Cartons

When it comes to ice cream cartons, two common types of materials are paper and plastic.

Paper cartons are often made from paperboard, a sustainable and recyclable material.

These cartons are lightweight and sturdy, & provide good insulation to keep the ice cream cold.

Paper cartons can be easily recycled, contributing to environmental sustainability.

Paper cartons

Plastic cartons, on the other hand, are typically made from various types of plastic materials.

While plastic cartons offer durability and moisture resistance, they present challenges in terms of recycling.

Depending on the type of plastic used, recycling options may vary.

It’s essential to check with local recycling facilities to determine if plastic ice cream cartons can be recycled in your area.

Ultimately, both paper and plastic cartons have their pros and cons.

Choosing the correct type of carton depends on factors such as environmental impact, recycling capabilities, and specific packaging requirements.

Plastic cartons can be recycled

Are Paper Ice Cream Cartons Recyclable?

Short Answer: No, paper ice cream cartons are generally not recyclable due to the presence of a wet-strength coating that hinders the recycling process.

Paper ice cream cartons have a wet-strength coating that allows them to withstand freezing temperatures and resist moisture.

This coating makes the cartons water-resistant and durable but also poses challenges for recycling facilities.

The coating prevents the cartons from breaking down effectively during the recycling process, affecting the quality of the recycled paper.

Paper Ice Cream Cartons

Due to these challenges, many recycling programs do not accept paper ice cream cartons.

It’s important to follow local recycling guidelines and contact waste management authorities for specific instructions on disposing of paper ice cream cartons in your area.

Choosing sustainable alternatives or exploring packaging options made from more readily recyclable materials can reduce waste and promote environmental responsibility.

For more information, you can refer to Waste Management’s recycling guidelines.

Paper Ice Cream Cartons

Are Plastic Ice Cream Cartons Recyclable

Yes, plastic ice cream cartons are generally recyclable.

However, it’s important to check the specific plastic type and recycling guidelines in your area.

Cleaning the carton before recycling is crucial to avoid contaminating other items in the recycling bin.

Plastic Ice Cream Cartons can Recyclable

Challenges of recycling plastic cartons

Due to these challenges, many recycling programs do not accept paper ice cream cartons.

It’s important to follow local recycling guidelines and contact waste management authorities for specific instructions on disposing of paper ice cream cartons in your area.

Choosing sustainable alternatives or exploring packaging options made from more readily recyclable materials can reduce waste and promote environmental responsibility.

For more information, you can refer to Waste Management’s recycling guidelines.

Ice Cream Cartons

Are Waxed Ice Cream Containers Recyclable?

Yes, waxed ice cream containers can be recyclable in specific recycling programs.

For example, in the province of British Columbia, these containers are included in the provincial recycling program managed by Recycle BC.

This program accepts various packaging and printed paper items, including wax and plastic-lined food containers like those used for ice cream, microwavable meals, and milk products.

However, it’s important to note that not all municipalities include these items in their curbside recycling programs.

paper and plastic ice cream cartons

Are Ice Cream Containers Compostable?

Ice cream containers, specifically ice cream cartons, can be compostable under certain conditions.

However, it depends on the specific composition of the carton and the capabilities of the composting system being used.

Ice cream cartons are typically made of a combination of materials, including paperboard, plastic coatings, and sometimes aluminum foil or plastic lids.

While the paperboard component is compostable, the presence of plastic coatings can complicate the composting process.

paper ice cream cartons

Traditional backyard composting systems may struggle to break down these plastic coatings effectively.

On the other hand, commercial composting facilities, which employ specialized techniques and controlled environments, can handle ice cream cartons with plastic coatings more effectively.

To determine if an ice cream carton is compostable, look for certifications such as the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) certification or the Compostable logo issued by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

These certifications indicate that the carton has met specific standards for compostability, including the ability to break down within a specified timeframe under composting conditions.

plastic ice cream cartons

Is Famous Ice Cream Brand's Carton Recyclable?

The recyclability of ice cream containers varies depending on the specific brand and their packaging materials.

Let’s look at the recyclability of some famous ice cream brands:

Are Häagen-Dazs containers recyclable?

Häagen-Dazs uses paperboard cartons for some of its ice cream products, which are generally recyclable.

However, checking your local recycling guidelines is essential to ensure that paperboard cartons are accepted in your area.

Famous Ice Cream Brands Carton

Are breyers ice cream cartons recyclable?

No, Breyers ice cream cartons cannot be recycled due to the moisture barrier lamination.

The lamination prevents the cartons from being composted and adds complexity to the recycling process. It is best to dispose of them in the regular trash.

Are Blue bell ice cream containers recyclable?

No, Blue Bell ice cream containers are not recyclable. These containers are made of materials that can withstand freezer temperatures and prevent freezer burn.

However, due to the materials used and their composition, they cannot be recycled and should be disposed of in regular trash.

breyers ice cream cartons

Are Ben and Jerry’s ice cream containers recyclable?

Ben and Jerry‘s ice cream containers are primarily made from paperboard, which is widely recyclable.

However, some Ben and Jerry’s flavors come in containers with plastic or mixed materials, such as their pint-sized tubs.

In these cases, it’s essential to separate the plastic from the paperboard and dispose of each material according to local recycling guidelines.

Ben and Jerry's ice cream containers

How To Recycle Ice Cream Cartons?

Recycling ice cream cartons is a great way to contribute to environmental sustainability. Here’s a general guide on how to recycle ice cream cartons:

  • Rinse the carton: Rinse the ice cream carton before recycling to remove any leftover ice cream or residue. This helps prevent contamination of other recyclables.
  • Check local recycling guidelines: Familiarize yourself with the recycling guidelines in your area. Different municipalities may have specific requirements for recycling cartons. Check if paperboard or mixed-material cartons are accepted.
Recycle Ice Cream Cartons
  • Remove plastic components:If the ice cream carton has plastic lids or inserts, separate them from the paperboard.Some recycling programs may require you to discard the plastic parts separately or dispose of them as general waste.


  • Flatten the carton: Flatten the carton to save space in your recycling bin or container. This also helps in the sorting process at recycling facilities.
Recycle Paper Ice Cream Cartons
  • Place in a recycling bin:Once prepared, place the ice cream carton in your recycling bin or take it to a local recycling drop-off point. Follow your municipality’s recycling guidelines for proper disposal.

Recycling practices vary by location, so checking local recycling guidelines for specific instructions is crucial.

By recycling ice cream cartons, you can contribute to waste reduction and promote a more sustainable future.

Recycle Paper Cartons

Ways To Reuse Ice Cream Cartons?

Ice cream cartons can be repurposed and reused creatively, reducing waste and giving them a new life.

Here are some ideas for reusing ice cream cartons:

  1. Storage containers: Clean and dry ice cream cartons can be used for small items like craft, office, or pantry items. The compartments in some cartons can help with organization.
  1. Plant pots:Cut the top portion of an ice cream carton, poke drainage holes in the bottom, and fill it with soil. You can use it as a temporary pot for small herbs, seedlings, or indoor plants
resue ice cream cartons for plant pots
  1. DIY crafts:Ice cream cartons can be transformed into various DIY crafts. You can paint and decorate them to make pen holders, decorative gift boxes, or organizers for jewelry or accessories.
  1. Freezer storage:If the carton is still in good condition, you can reuse it to store homemade ice cream or other frozen treats in the freezer. Just make sure to label and date the carton for easy identification.
resue ice cream cartons for DIY crafts


  1. Seed starters: Cut the bottom part of the carton, fill it with soil, and use it as a seed starter for gardening. The carton provides a convenient space for seeds to germinate before transplanting them into the garden.
  1. Kids’ art projects:Ice cream cartons can be an excellent resource for kids’ art projects. They can be used as paint palettes, holders for art supplies, or as a base for creating dioramas or small sculptures.
Reuse Ice Cream Cartons

Related Knowledge: Are Milk Cartons Recyclable?

Yes, milk cartons are generally recyclable.

Milk cartons are typically made of paperboard, plastic, and sometimes aluminum foil.

They come in two main types: gable top cartons, which are refrigerated, and aseptic cartons, which are shelf-stable cartons.

Gable top cartons are made of paper and a plastic liner.

They store refrigerated foods such as milk, juice, and cream. On the other hand, aseptic cartons are made of paper, plastic, and aluminum liners.

They store non-refrigerated foods like soup, broth, and wine.

Milk Cartons

Both types of cartons can be recycled. When recycling milk cartons, it’s essential to empty the carton first, but don’t flatten it.

If the carton has a straw, tuck it inside, and if it has a cap, screw it back on before recycling to prevent litter.

Recycling programs may have specific instructions, such as separating plastic caps or rinsing the cartons, so it’s best to check with your local recycling facility or waste management provider for their guidelines.

Milk Cartons

Wrap Up

We hope this comprehensive article has provided valuable insights into the recyclability of ice cream cartons and the importance of sustainable packaging practices.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this article! Did it help you better understand the recyclability of ice cream cartons?

Have you encountered any unique ice cream packaging materials in your local supermarkets?

Your feedback and experiences are valuable to us, so please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

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