The latest figures on carton recycling in the EU have shown that 42% of beverage cartons were recycled in 2013, equivalent to approximately 425,000 tonnes of cartons and a a rise of 3% on the 2012 figures.
The increase follows the year on year increase of 3% recorded from 2011-12 and brings the total recovery rate (comprising recycling and energy recovery) has now reached 71% across the EU.
Welcoming the news the Alliance for Beverage Cartons & the Environment (ACE) UK explained that 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 sent to waste to energy facilities.
In 2013 the UK’s first dedicated recycling facility for beverage cartons opened in Stainland, Yorkshire. The facility, a partnership between ACE UK, and global paper and packaging manufacturer Sonoco Alcore.
“The number of UK local authorities collecting cartons at kerbside for recycling has risen to 57% from just 31% as recently as 2011,” commented Richard Hands, chief executive of ACE UK.
According to Hands when carton recycling bring banks are included 91% of local authorities now collect cartons for recycling.
“This progress marks a significant shift in providing incentives for local authorities to collect cartons, so making it easier for consumers to recycle them and providing an environmental packaging choice for manufacturers,” he continued.
ACE UK added that it has a dedicated recycling team which offers advice and support to local authorities and community recycling networks wishing to collect cartons.
The organisation has also published an interactive map on its website to help residents find out where and how they can recycle beverage cartons in their area.
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