The Alliance for Beverage Cartons & the Environment (ACE) UK, which represents Elopak, SIG Combibloc and Tetra Pak, and paper and packaging producer Sonoco Alcore have teamed up to establish a beverage carton recycling facility in Halifax, West Yorkshire, UK.
ACE claims that the first such facility, which is expected to be operational from 2013 will be capable of recycling 25,000t of cartons sorted from household and commercial waste streams.
Either through kerbside collection or through the industry’s own bring-bank system cartons can be recycled by 89% of households compared to 20% in 2006, as a result of collaboration between ACE UK and local authorities.
The kerbside coverage in the UK increased tenfold from 4% of local authorities in 2006 to 43% in 2012 and is expected to rise, as the UK mill offers number of benefits to the authorities, including creation of a UK market for the recycling of used beverage cartons and the local authorities would be enabled with no-export policies on waste to recycle cartons in the country.
The cartons collected are at present reprocessed in mills in mainland Europe, according to ACE UK.
ACE UK chief executive Richard Hands said by the end of December 2013 a further ten local authorities will have started collecting cartons in their kerbside service, sending them to the new mill for recycling by ACE UK and Sonoco Alcore.
"This decision underlines the firm commitment of our members – Tetra Pak, SIG Combibloc and Elopak – to constantly improve the environmental performance of their beverage cartons," Hands added.
The wood fibres found in beverage cartons are flexible and can be recycled and converted into a raw material for new paperboard products. The products will be recycled into consumer and industrial products by the Sonoco Alcore recycling facility.