According to the Carton Council, Vernon Hills, Ill., the number of households that have the ability to recycle cartons has increased 128 percent in three years. Now, more than 40 percent of U.S. households — which equates to more than 47.9 million households — have access to carton recycling bins.

In 2009, 21 million households could recycle shelf-stable and refrigerated cartons. Now, more than double that amount are able to recycle cartons through their community's recycling programs, including programs in Dallas, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, San Diego and Los Angeles. Today, 43 states and 62 U.S. cities accept cartons, according to the Carton Council. Consumers can find out whether their program is included by visiting

"We know from experience that residents respond more favorably to recycling when they are given opportunities to include more materials," said Dale Gubbels, chief executive officer of Firstar Fiber, a materials recovery facility that handles residential recycling collection for the city of Omaha, Neb., in a statement. "With the Carton Council's assistance, we were able to secure guaranteed market outlets for cartons, which in turn helped us convince the city of Omaha to allow the inclusion of cartons in the recycling program."

Although the Carton Council is celebrating the 40 percent access milestone, it still is focused on further increasing the availability of carton recycling.

"Our efforts in the U.S. will not stop at 40 percent access,” said Jason Pelz, vice president of environment at Tetra Pak North America, Vernon Hills, Ill., and vice president of recycling projects for the Carton Council of North America, in a statement. “Now, we see 50 percent on the horizon and are aiming much higher. We want cartons to be as common in curbside bins as they are on store shelves."