Just weeks after The Alliance for Beverage Cartons & the Environment (ACE) UK announced an agreement with paper and packaging producer, Sonoco Alcore, to establish the UK’s only beverage carton reprocessing plant, it has signed-up its first customer.
Bryson Recycling, Northern Ireland’s leading recycling service, will send its bales of used beverage cartons to the 25,000tpa plant in Stainland, West Yorkshire.
Beverage cartons are collected by Bryson Recycling from kerbside schemes in Newtownabbey, Ballymena and Carrickfergus, covering more than 68,000 households. At the company’s Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in Belfast, the cartons are separated from other recyclables and baled, before currently being shipped to Sweden for reprocessing via ACE UK.
When the new plant becomes operational in early 2013, there will be potential to create an innovative logistics scenario: lorries used to transport coreboard from the Sonoco Alcore mill in West Yorkshire to its converting factory in Lurgan, County Armagh, could be backloaded with used beverage carton bales from the Bryson Recycling MRF for reprocessing back at the Stainland plant, significantly reducing transport impacts.
Eric Randall, Director at Bryson Recycling, comments: “The ability to reprocess beverage cartons in the UK is great news for us and our local authority partners.
“At the heart of everything we do is the triple bottom line approach: social responsibility; environmental sustainability; and economic viability. Our agreement with ACE UK and Sonoco Alcore puts a big tick in all these boxes, so we’re delighted to be leading the pack as the first to sign-up.”
Providing an opportunity to reduce the road and rail miles travelled by used beverage cartons for them to be recycled is just one of the benefits offered by the new reprocessing plant for waste management companies and their local authority partners.
Others 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.
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 within mixed fibre bales, usually to mills overseas.
As a result of the reprocessing plant initiative, ACE UK expects kerbside coverage and carton recycling rates to significantly increase. “While collection coverage for beverage cartons is already high, we know from our discussions with local authorities that a UK-based reprocessing solution makes the switch to kerbside collection more appealing”, said Fay Dashper, Recycling Operations Manager at ACE UK.
“Nevertheless, even we are surprised at the level of interest received from MRF operators in the plant and the UK-based market it creates for used beverage cartons.
“This interest is testimony to the firm commitment of our members – Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc – to constantly improve the environmental performance of their beverage cartons.
“We’re 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 plant for recycling.”
To find out more about beverage carton recycling, visit www.ace-uk.co.uk/recycling.