Debunking Common Myths about Juice Pouch Recycling

Juice pouches are just about everywhere that you look now. This is because they are cheap to produce for manufacturers. They are also inexpensive to ship around.

Juice pouches are not recyclable. They’re made up of two recyclable materials, but the plastic and metal foil that makes them up is too closely bonded to be recycled easily. In the end, you’re most likely to throw them in the trash, which is a shame.

The problem is that they are not all that great for the environment. This is because they cannot be recycled. Let’s look at this in a bit more depth, shall we?

Are Juice Pouches Recyclable?

No.

It is a shame because juice pouches should be recyclable. Well, at least some of it should be.

Most juice pouches are made up of layered plastics and metal (typically aluminum). The problem is that when these materials are joined up in the way that they are in juice pouches, they become impossible to recycle.

As you may probably know, when we recycle products, we recycle one material at a time. Yes, some techniques can separate materials from one another, but these recycling techniques only work on materials that haven’t been closely bound.

Recycling Juice Pouches

This ensures that there is a viable way to separate them. You do not get this with juice pouches. Due to the layered materials on the pouch and how thin it is, separating the metals from the plastics isn’t viable. It is far too costly, particularly since juice pouches will likely form just a fraction of the recycling.

If you take old juice pouches to a recycling center, we guarantee you will be turned away with them. Although, some recycling centers will send them to the landfill on your behalf.

That being said, you can recycle just the straw with the juice pouch if you want.

Will Juice Pouches Ever Be Recyclable?

Juice Pouches are unlikely to be ever properly recyclable. This is because there probably isn’t enough drive in the recycling industry to develop ideas for separating metal from plastics. If there was, we can’t imagine the idea would be all that cost-effective.

Perhaps the only thing that we, as consumers, can do is try to reduce the demand in the industry for juice pouches. If people buy fewer products with juice pouches or try to pressure manufacturers, they will disappear. This means there could be a considerable reduction in pressure on landfills.

Alternatives to Throwing Away Juice Pouches

There is one company known as TerraCycle. You won’t be able to find them in your town or city. Instead, you will need to contact them, and they will ship you a box or bag that you can use to send your old juice pouches to them.

This company is about as close to recycling as you can get. You will send the products to them, and they will grind them up into small chunks before making new items with them. The only real problem is that their process isn’t true recycling.

It won’t be used to reduce the demand in the industry for plastics or aluminum. All of that will still need to be produced for new juice pouches. However, it will help prevent juice boxes from ending in a landfill, which is always good.

TerraCycle is one company that will take them if you want to send them off to be recycled. If you send products to TerraCycle (they accept more than just juice pouches), then make sure that everything is thoroughly cleaned before you ship it off to them. It makes their job a little bit easier.

Alternatives To Juice Pouches

Ideally, you would skip purchasing juice pouches altogether. Instead, pick up a reusable bottle. There will be options for children too. It is going to be a lot better for the environment like that. It may even end up being a little bit cheaper than actually purchasing juice pouches too!

Throwing Away Juice Pouches

You have little choice but to add old juice pouches to the trash. Since you can’t recycle them, they will have to go in with your standard garbage.

As we said, this is a shame because we are putting quality, recyclable materials into the ground. They are going to be taking up space in a landfill. And, since landfill space is at a premium right now, this is not a good thing.

That being said, the main issue isn’t so much the filling up of landfills. It is what happens once the juice pouches are in a landfill. Over many years, the plastic in the juice pouch will start to break down.

This will leak chemicals into the surrounding environment. This can cause the destruction of animal habits and the poisoning of water supplies. Sure, one juice pouch probably doesn’t affect the environment much, but think about how many juice pouches are sold each week in the United States. Imagine all of those being added to a landfill. The problem very quickly becomes quite severe!

We know that this should go without saying for many of you. However, if you plan to add juice pouches to your trash, ensure they are in a well-sealed bag. This is because the juice is quite sweet. Some of that juice will stick around the pouch, attracting animals. This could lead to two things happening:

  • The animals bite into the pouch, choking on plastic.
  • They spread your litter around the area.

Ideally, you would wash the juice pouches a little before adding the juice pouch to the trash.

Conclusion

Juice pouches are not recyclable due to the closely bonded plastic and metal foil materials used in their production. While the recycling industry may not have the drive or cost-effectiveness to develop a viable solution, consumers can reduce demand for juice pouches by purchasing alternatives such as reusable bottles.

While recycling company TerraCycle does offer a solution for disposing of juice pouches, it is not true recycling and still contributes to the demand for plastic and aluminum. Ultimately, the best solution is to avoid purchasing juice pouches altogether and opt for more sustainable options.