Food and drinks cartons from across the UK will be able to be recycled in this country after a new recycling plant opened.
Environment Minister Lord de Mauley opened the dedicated recycling facility in Stainland, near Halifax, in West Yorkshire, that is capable of recycling up to 40 per cent, or 25,000 tonnes, of the UK food and drink cartons placed on the UK market each year.
The plant is a joint venture between the Alliance for Beverage Cartons & the Environment (ACE) UK, which represents manufacturers such as Tetra Pak, Elopak, and SIG Combibloc, and paper and packaging producer Sonoco Alcore.
The latter will take advantage of 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 is then made into 100 per cent recyclable tubes and cores.
The metal and plastic film from the cartons will be stored with several different approaches to recycling these in the UK being investigated before implementing recycling of these materials in 2014.
Environment Minister Lord de Mauley said: “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.
“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 to compete in the global race.”
ACE UK chief executive Richard Hands added: “The ultimate aim of our members – Tetra Pak, Elopak, and SIG Combiblock – is to meet the requirements of retailers, manufacturers and consumers for packaging that is easy to recycle.
“Kerbside recycling schemes provide the most convenient collection method for consumers and we expect more cartons to be collected in this way now that local authorities have a secure domestic market for this material stream.
“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.”
While Sonoco Alcore vice president – industrial converting Europe Adam Wood said: “Sonoco Alcore will use the high-quality fibres from collected cartons to produce paperboard.
“This paperboard is used to manufacture our tubes and cores, which are also recyclable. The new carton recycling facility is capable of producing enough material each year for 15,500 tonnes of new coreboard, enough to make 17.8 million average-sized cores and provide a consistently secure supply of material for our company.”