About cartons

Frequently Asked Questions

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What are cartons made from?

Beverage cartons are made, on average, from 75% virgin wood fibre in the form of paperboard, 21% polyethylene and 4% aluminium. This varies depending whether they are to be used for chilled or long life products. Click here for more information

Why do the cartons need aluminium and polyethylene layers?

Very fine aluminium foil serves as a barrier to light, aromas, and oxygen, which enables the contents to last for months without preservatives or refrigeration. The polyethylene acts as a water-tight barrier. It is this resource-efficient combination that allows paperboard – a natural, renewable resource – to be used as the main material.

Where does the wood fibre come from that goes into my carton?

Sweden and Finland provide the vast majority of wood used to produce paperboard for beverage cartons in Europe. The rest comes from the Baltics, South America, Russia (although this is decreasing) and other countries, such as the UK. All of the wood is traceable to legal and acceptable sources. Click here for more information.

Where can I recycle my cartons?

Use our interactive map to find your nearest beverage carton recycling facilities.

Do I have to remove the caps before recycling?

No. The caps can be left on the carton as they will be removed in the recycling process. However, it’s helpful to wash and then squash your carton. The washing helps reduce contamination and squashing helps with space efficiency.

Where are cartons recycled?

All used beverage cartons collected via ACE UK are sent to the carton recycling facility at the Sonoco Alcore paper mill in Stainland, West Yorkshire. To see how they are recycled, click here.

Is there a waxy coating on your cartons? Does that make them difficult to recycle?

No, there is no wax in cartons and they are easy to recycle. People often mistake the outer polyethylene layer as a wax coating.

I work for a local authority/community recycling network and we’re interested in starting beverage carton recycling collections from the kerbside. How can you help?

Please contact the ACE UK recycling team on 01606 530320 or enquiries@ace-uk.co.uk. We will be able to talk you through the requirements for carton recycling and what the process is.

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Beverage carton recycling in the UK

  • Total no. of
  • Local authorities collecting
    354 (93%)
  • Local authorities collecting cartons from kerbside 250 (66%)
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