The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) UK and paper and packaging producer Sonoco Alcore have opened a facility capable of recycling up to 40% of the cartons manufactured by the UK food and drinks industry each year.
The virgin wood fibres found in cartons will be converted into industrial-strength recyclable coreboard and used to wrap paper, man-made fibre yarns and metal and plastic film for industrial applications. The facility will be able to produce sufficient material for 15,500t of new coreboard annually.
Recycling collections of beverage cartons in the UK are expected to increase, as the facility offers a domestic recycling location to local authorities.
Switching from recycling cartons at mills in Sweden is expected to lead to an annual reduction of 122t of transport-related CO2. The new facility also has the potential to cut down landfill taxes and gate fees for local authorities by £3.6m.
ACE represents beverage carton manufacturers Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc. ACE UK chief executive Richard Hands said that it aims to meet the requirements of retailers, manufacturers and consumers for easy-to-recycle packaging.
"While we have already made great progress; the number of local authorities collecting cartons at the kerbside has increased more than ten-fold in the last six years; we're really excited by this development and its potential to further transform carton recycling in the UK," Hands added.
Image: The UK facility will recycle up to 25,000t of the cartons manufactured annually for the food and drink market.