Beverage cartons go through a number of production stages before they reach supermarket shelves and consumers.
From wood fibre to paperboard
Paperboard, the main material used in the beverage carton, is made from wood pulp, derived from trees such as spruce, pine, birch and eucalyptus. This pulp is washed and then combined into multiple layers using a paperboard machine. The smoothness, stiffness and thickness of the paperboard are measured using sophisticated control processes. Depending on the size of the carton, the distribution system (e.g. chilled or ambient) and the intended shelf-life of the product, different grades of paperboard are available.
From paperboard to beverage carton
Large rolls of paperboard are transported by boat, train, and road to the beverage carton manufacturing plants of ACE members, Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc. Here, the paperboard is designed, coated, and printed according to the requirements of their customers: the food and drink companies, and retailers. It will then be delivered as carton reels or sleeves to be assembled and filled.
Beverage carton recycling in the UK