Carton recycling site to help close UK recycling gap with EU

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Recycling Uk

Potentially 1.25bn cartons could be recycled at the new facility each year
Potentially 1.25bn cartons could be recycled at the new facility each year
The opening of the UK’s only dedicated carton recycling plant is likely to tempt more manufacturers to consider using such packaging and help the UK bridge its recycling gap with Europe.

Those are the views expressed in this podcast by Richard Hands, ceo of the Alliance for Beverage Cartons & the Environment (ACE) UK – which represents the leading beverage carton manufacturers Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc.

Hands was speaking at the official opening of the site in Stainland, near Halifax, West Yorkshire.

He said the site was capable of recycling up to 40% (25,000t) of the cartons manufactured each year for the UK food and drink market, with the new plant expected to significantly boost recycling rates.

Potentially, 1.25bn cartons could be recycled at the site each year. Laid end-to-end these would wrap around the circumference of the earth six times.

Joint initiative

The plant is a joint initiative​ between the Alliance for Beverage Cartons & the Environment (ACE) UK and paper and packaging producer Sonoco Alcore.

Sonoco Alcore would build on the strength and quality of the virgin wood fibres found in cartons by turning them into industrial-strength coreboard at its paper mill located on the same site.

This would then be made into 100% recyclable tubes and cores, which could be used to wrap paper, man-made fibre yarns, and metal and plastic film for industrial applications.

Hands explained in the podcast that 52% of local authorities now offered kerbside collections of cartons, a number he hopes will now rise significantly – not least because there is now a clear UK market for used cartons whereas they previously had to be sent abroad.

This would also create a stable price for cartons, a reduction in road and rail miles travelled to the recycling plant and encouraged local authorities with no-export policies on waste to recycle cartons in the UK, rather than send them to landfill, he added.

Reducing waste

The site was officially opened by Lord de Mauley, Minister for Resource Management, who said he was keen to see more industries take responsibility for reducing waste and boosting recycling.

“Dealing with waste and recycling properly is not only good for the environment but can 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,” ​he said.

“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.”

Listen to the podcast to hear how Hands hoped the new site would bridge the gap between UK and European recycling rates and discuss why he thought cartons were an increasingly attractive packaging option for food manufacturers.


Related news

Follow us

Featured Jobs

View more


Food Manufacture Podcast

Listen to the Food Manufacture podcast