Figures released by the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) UK show that the proportion of UK local authorities collecting beverage cartons for recycling from kerbside has hit 66%.
This milestone represents a more than 16-fold increase on 2006 levels when just 4% of local authorities collected cartons at kerbside and follows sustained, close co-operation between ACE UK, local authorities and consumer groups. When ACE UK’s own bring-bank system is included, 92% of UK local authorities now collect cartons for recycling.
South Hams District Council in South Devon is the latest organisation to start collecting cartons at kerbside.
Neil Greenhalgh, Operational Manager for Waste at South Hams District Council said: “We have listened to residents, reviewed suggestions, and made changes based on this feedback.
“It is great news that South Hams District Council is now collecting beverage cartons at kerbside, taking us to the 66% milestone, which represents two in every three households in the UK.”
“This is a major milestone for recycling in the South Hams. Residents already recycle a lot of cartons at recycling banks and this will enable residents to recycle at home as well.”
The cartons will be recycled at the UK’s only dedicated beverage carton recycling facility at Stainland, West Yorkshire, a joint venture between ACE UK and its partner Sonoco Alcore. Capable of recycling 25,000 tonnes of cartons sorted from household and commercial waste streams, the facility currently receives cartons from 35% of local authorities, through kerbside and bring bank schemes.
“It is great news that South Hams District Council is now collecting beverage cartons at kerbside, taking us to the 66% milestone, which represents two in every three households in the UK. Our members – Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc – are extremely pleased that their strategy to increase kerbside collection and make it easier for residents to recycle cartons is paying dividends”, said Richard Hands, Chief Executive of ACE UK.
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 used to make items such as garden furniture, children’s play mats, and construction materials.
ACE UK has a dedicated recycling team which offers advice and support to local authorities and community recycling networks wishing to collect cartons.