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UK Reprocessing Plant to Boost Beverage Carton Recycling Rates

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UK Reprocessing Plant to Boost Beverage Carton Recycling Rates

UK Reprocessing Plant to Boost Beverage Carton Recycling Rates
July 03
08:15 2012

The Alliance for Beverage Cartons & the Environment (ACE) UK has signed an agreement with paper and packaging producer, Sonoco Alcore, to establish the UK’s only beverage carton reprocessing facility at its UK plant near Halifax, West Yorkshire. The plant will be operational from 2013 and capable of recycling 25,000 tonnes of cartons sorted from household and commercial waste streams by local authorities and their waste management contractors.

Collection coverage for beverage cartons is already high. As a result of close working between ACE UK and local authorities, 89% of households can recycle cartons – either through kerbside collection or through the industry’s own bring-bank system – compared to just 20% in 2006. Kerbside coverage in the UK has increased tenfold from 4% of local authorities in 2006 to 43% in 2012.

As the UK mill offers numerous benefits to local authorities, kerbside coverage and carton recycling rates are now expected to increase even more dramatically. These benefits include creating a UK market for the recycling of used beverage cartons and enabling those local authorities with no-export policies on waste to recycle cartons in the UK – diverting material from landfill and avoiding landfill tax, gate fees and associated greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, the mill provides an opportunity for local authorities to reduce the road and rail miles travelled by used beverage cartons for recycling: currently cartons collected by ACE UK are reprocessed in mills in mainland Europe. It will also be of interest to those local authorities that prefer to have a defined route for their recycling streams, rather than having used cartons sold on the open market, usually to mills overseas.

Richard Hands, chief executive of ACE UK, comments: “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. The already low carbon footprint will become even lower, valuable materials will go back into the UK economy and local authorities can meet the expectations of many householders that their waste should be reprocessed in this country. We are confident that by the end of Year 1 (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.”

The high-quality wood fibres found in beverage cartons are flexible and strong, and can be recycled making them a valuable raw material for new paperboard products. The Sonoco Alcore plant will recycle the reprocessed paperboard layers into consumer and industrial products, such as the tubes for cling film and the cores for rolls of textiles.

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