This is a rise of three percent on the 2011 figure of 37 percent. The total recovery rate (comprising recycling and energy recovery) reached 69 percent across the EU.
Beverage cartons are easily recycled using a 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 used for energy recovery.
Richard Hands, ACE UK – “We very much welcome this latest rise in carton recycling rates across the EU, which shows things are moving the right direction. As recently as 2009 the recycling rate was just over 30 percent, so to hit 40 percent in 2012 is very encouraging”
The Alliance for Beverage Cartons & the Environment (ACE) UK, which represents carton manufacturers Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc, has welcomed the latest figures.
Its chief executive, Richard Hands, said: “We very much welcome this latest rise in carton recycling rates across the EU, which shows things are moving the right direction. As recently as 2009 the recycling rate was just over 30 percent, so to hit 40 percent in 2012 is very encouraging.”
“As an organisation, we and the members we represent, are committed to improving the opportunities for beverage carton recycling in the UK. Over 50 percent of local authorities now collect cartons at kerbside for recycling, and we are confident that the opening earlier this year of the UK’s only dedicated carton recycling facility, a partnership between ACE UK and Sonoco Alcore, will provide a further boost to carton recycling rates”, added Hands.