First Beverage Carton Industry In UK

Tetra Pak, SIG Combibloc and Elopak with Sonoco Alcore are teaming up together to establish UK’s first beverage carton reprocessing plant.

As part of the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE), the coalition said the move to build the plant in northern England would boost UK beverage carton recycling rates, create a market for recycled material and enhance the sustainability credentials of the material.

The 1,150 square-metre site in Halifax, West Yorkshire, UK, will be operational early next year and will be able to recycle 25,000 tonnes of cartons – just over a third of the UK’s material volume.

The cartons will be sourced from household and commercial waste gathered by local authorities.

ACE was unable to comment on the financial terms of the arrangement but said that its members had contributed “time and expertise” to the joint project with Sonoco Alcore.

The wood fibres in beverage cartons are of quality sufficient enough to be recycled into new paperboard applications both for industrial and consumer use.

The Sonoco Alcore plant will recycle the reprocessed paperboard layers into products such as the tubes for cling film and the cores for rolls of textiles.

Richard Hands, the chief executive of ACE UK, said that the new site would offer major benefits to local authorities which gather the cartons either through industry’s bring-bank systems or kerbside collections from households throughout the UK.

He said: “Food and beverage companies can cut transport costs by sending paperboard waste to Halifax instead of mainland Europe. Also as recycling rates in the UK go up, this will make paperboard a more appealing material environmentally. It’s a win-win situation and we believe it will help increase beverage carton recycling rates significantly”.

The scheme would also be advantageous to the food and beverage industry by creating a UK market for recycled beverage cartons by increasing the collection rates of good quality feedstock.

The Halifax site will slash the road and rail miles travelled by used beverage cartons for recycling. At present cartons amassed by ACE UK are reprocessed in a mill in Barcelona, Spain.

Previous sites have been detected in Italy and Sweden.

The decision will enable the local authorities who have 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.

ACE said that if the UK plant works with full capacity, this could possibly minimise the landfill taxes and gate fees by almost £3.5m based on landfill tax for 2012 and £3.6m for 2013.

Sonoco Alcore emphasised the necessity and importance of the new production.

Adam Wood, the European Vice President of Industrial Converting, said: “This partnership provides us with the fibre we need to produce our engineered tubes and cores, and we are looking forward to receiving a growing a stream of cartons.

“Additionally, as an integrated manufacturer, it is important for us to know our material sources and we know ACE UK members are committed to sourcing from responsibly managed forests. This partnership has brought real business benefits to our UK operations while supporting our sustainable business practices”.


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