The last word

The last word

Richard Hands rejoices as the new beverage carton recycling plant opens for business.

On 3 September the UK’s only dedicated beverage carton recycling facility was officially opened by Lord de Mauley, Minister for Resource Management. 


The plant is a joint initiative between the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) UK – representing the leading beverage carton manufacturers Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc – and paper and packaging producer Sonoco Alcore. 


Located in Stainland, West Yorkshire, and capable of recycling up to 40% (25,000 tonnes) of the cartons used in the UK each year, the new plant is expected to significantly boost recycling rates. Sonoco Alcore will use the recycled cartons to produce industrial-strength coreboard at its paper mill located on the same site, which is then made into 100% recyclable tubes and cores, around which paper, man-made fibre yarns, and metal and plastic film can be wound. 


The new facility offers many benefits to local authorities and, as a result, kerbside collection of beverage cartons and UK carton recycling rates are expected to increase dramatically. 


When running at its full capacity of 25,000 tonnes per annum, the facility has the potential to reduce landfill taxes and gate fees for local authorities by £3.6 million (based on 2013 levels).


In the last six years the number of local authorities collecting cartons at the kerbside has increased more than ten-fold, but this exciting new development has the potential to further transform carton recycling in the UK, with cartons collected in over 180 local authority areas already set to come to the new facility.


The ultimate aim of ACE UK members 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, with another 10 local authorities expected to start collecting cartons  by the end of 2013.


I’ll leave the final words to Lord de Mauley, Minister for Resource Management, who said at the opening: “Dealing with waste and recycling properly is not only good for the environment but can boost economic growth and create jobs. There is a huge global market for waste and recycling and I want to see UK businesses leading the way on this.”




Stephanie Cornwall
Stephanie Cornwall