New centre to recycle 40% of UK food and drink cartons

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Recycling, Uk

The new plant can handle up to 40% (25,000t) of the cartons manufactured each year for the UK food and drink market
The new plant can handle up to 40% (25,000t) of the cartons manufactured each year for the UK food and drink market
The UK’s only dedicated beverage carton recycling plant – capable of handling up to 40% (25,000t) of the cartons manufactured each year for the UK food and drink market – is opening today (September 3).

The facility, located in Stainland, near Halifax, West Yorkshire, is a joint initiative between the Alliance for Beverage Cartons & the Environment (ACE) UK – representing packing firms Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc – and paper and packaging producer Sonoco Alcore.

Sonoco Alcore plans to process the carton’s wood fibres into industrial-strength coreboard at its paper mill located on the same site.

The coreboard will be used to make 100% recyclable tubes and cores to wrap paper, man-made fibre yarns, and metal and plastic film for industrial applications.

The new carton recycling facility was capable of producing 15,500t of new coreboard each year. That was enough to make 17.8M average-sized cores and provide a consistently secure supply of material for Sonoco Alcore, said Adam Wood, its vice president – industrial converting Europe.

Create jobs

Lord de Mauley, minister for resource management, said dealing with waste and recycling effectively was good for the environment and could boost economic growth and create jobs.

“This new recycling plant is an exciting development and I’m delighted to see businesses working together to improve our ability to recycle more here in the UK,”​ said de Mauley. “There is a huge global market for waste and recycling and I want to see UK businesses leading the way on this and helping us compete in the global race.”

The centre will process cartons collected from more than 180 local authority areas. ACE UK expected to add a further 10 local authorities by the end of the year.

Richard Hands, chief executive, ACE UK, said members aimed to meet the demands of retailers, manufacturers and consumers for easy-to-recycle packaging.

‘Kerbside recycling’

“Kerbside recycling schemes provide the most convenient collection method for consumers and we expect more cartons to be collected in this way now that local authorities have a secure domestic market for this material stream,” ​said Hands.

ACE UK claimed the site would deliver four key benefits:

• A UK destination for used beverage cartons. Drinks cartons are usually exported for recycling.

• A stable price per tonne for cartons delivered. This would be preferable to the price fluctuations on the global commodities market, it claimed.

• Fewer road and rail miles travelled by used beverage cartons for them to be recycled. Recycling cartons at the new facility will lead to an estimated annual reduction of 122t of transport-related CO2

• An opportunity for local authorities to avoid sending cartons to landfill. The new plant – when running at full capacity – could cut landfill taxes and gate fees for local authorities by £3.6M (based on 2013 levels), ACE UK claimed.

Related topics: Drinks, Packaging materials

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