UK’s first dedicated beverage carton recycling plant to open

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Recycling

Half of UK local authorities now offer kerbside recycling of beverage cartons – up 12-fold since 2006
Half of UK local authorities now offer kerbside recycling of beverage cartons – up 12-fold since 2006
Half of UK local authorities now offer kerbside recycling of beverage cartons – a 12-fold increase from 2006, new figures reveal.

The opening of the UK’s only dedicated beverage carton reprocessing facility in West Yorkshire later this year will provide extra capacity for recycling, according to the Alliance for Beverage Cartons & the Environment (ACE) UK.

The decision by Ceredigion County Council to add cartons to its kerbside collection means that 203 local authorities out of 406 now offer the service.

The beverage carton reprocessing facility at the Sonoco Alcore paper mill near Halifax will be capable of recycling 25,000t of cartons sorted from household and commercial waste streams – opening up a new non-export solution for local councils and their contractors.

Cartons collected in 187 local authority areas are already set to come to the new plant for recycling.

Tetra Pak

“In the year that the UK’s only dedicated recycling facility for cartons is scheduled to open, we are extremely pleased that our strategy to increase kerbside collection and make it easier for residents to recycle cartons is also paying dividends,”​ said Richard Hands, chief executive of ACE UK. Its members  include Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc.

The new figures have been welcomed by the government-funded Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Linda Crichton, head of collections and quality programme, said: “The 50% kerbside collection figure … marks a real milestone and bodes well for the future of carton recycling in the UK. We will continue to support the carton industry in their strategy to increase the rate even further.”

It is hoped the new figures will go some way to changing public perceptions that cartons are difficult to recycle.

Food products

Each year, about 60,000t of paper-based cartons are used in the UK to package milk, fruit juice and an increasingly wide range of food products, including soup, chopped tomatoes and pulses.

This equates to around 2.3kg of cartons per household which could be recycled instead of being thrown away as waste.

Beverage cartons are easily recycled using a simple pulping process, where the paperboard and non-fibre layers are separated and turned into new materials.

The wood fibres can be used to produce new high-strength paper products, such as cores and tubes for consumer and industrial applications, while the polymer and foil layers can be recycled or used for energy recovery.

Related topics: Drinks, Packaging equipment

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