PLASTIC MILK BOTTLES
Conserves resources: Recycling plastic milk bottles provides an
environmentally friendly feedstock for making new products and substitutes
recycled material for an equivalent amount of virgin plastic. Recycling a
ton of plastic bottles saves the equivalent of 3.8 barrels of oil.1
Helps the environment: Plastic bottle recycling reduces greenhouse
gas emissions by substituting recycled resin for new resin. In addition,
bottles are bulky and each bottle recycled saves landfill space.
Saves schools money on disposal costs: Throwing away bottles or cartons
costs money; schools pay for trash disposal by the cubic yard. Recycling
bottles may reduce trash volume between nine percent and 20 percent
according to National Dairy Council® pilot tests.2,3
Creates the volume needed to have a viable recycling program: Plastic milk bottles
can easily be recycled and can be the one item that makes enough “critical mass” to be
worthwhile for a recycling company to work with your district for no or very low cost.
Teaches children social responsibility: Reinforces learning to respect and take care of
How to get the most from recycling
b Discuss what other materials can be recycled with the school administration and the
recycling company. The more material recycled the better customer you become for
the recycling company, which can translate into financial benefits for the district.
b Renegotiate the trash hauling contract. There will be less garbage to be picked up and
that should reflect on the cost.
b Paper milk cartons are not easily recycled since they are a coated paper fiber and very
few recycling plants can handle this type of material.
b Coated paper milk cartons going into landfills do not easily decompose because ideal
composting conditions do not exist. This is true for most materials in landfills.
b Determine what education/promotion is needed to reinforce recycling message to
students, staff and faculty.
b Communicate with the recycling company on how to make the program more successful.
b Some companies have compactors available for lease or purchase which would make
the material more valuable.
b Be proud of helping the environment and the school district.
b Let the local media, parents and community know about your efforts.
b Share information about your program with other districts in your community and your
state School Nutrition Association.
b Local, regional or state government recycling programs and state recycling associations
may have grant funds and/or technical assistance to help make your program a success.
1. Killinger, Jennifer. “Information Sheet.” American Chemistry
Council. March 2007 <http://www.americanchemistry.com/
2. School Recycling Pilot Test conducted by Container
Recycling Services on behalf of National Dairy Council®.
3. Knox County School District Plastics Recycling Pilot Test,
(Knoxville, Tenn.), conducted by National Dairy Council®,
For more information visit
Copyright © 2008 National Dairy Council.®