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EU beverage carton recycling rate continues to grow


The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) UK has welcomed the latest figures on carton recycling in the EU, showing that 44% of beverage cartons were recycled in 2015 continuing an unbroken, ten-year upward trend.

The figure is equivalent to approximately 400,000 tonnes, or over 16 billion used beverage cartons, recycled at more than 20 paper mills in Europe. The total recovery rate (recycling and energy recovery) reached 74% for 2015.

There are still wide differences in recycling achievements across EU Member States. In those that efficiently separate packaging waste collection, beverage carton recycling reaches up to 70%.
Commenting, Annick Carpentier, Director General of ACE in Brussels said: “This difference in performance implies that recycling of milk or juice cartons used in homes across Europe can be increased further. We suggest that collecting all packaging separately, combined with a ban on landfilling packaging waste would significantly boost the Circular Economy.”

Richard Hands, Chief Executive of ACE UK, which represents carton manufacturers Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc, said: “Our sector is committed to supporting and promoting beverage carton recycling and the continuing upward trend in the EU carton recycling rate in 2015 is good news.

“In the UK our focus has been on building access to recycling facilities for all stakeholders. In the last five years the number of UK local authorities collecting cartons at kerbside for recycling has risen to 64% in 2016 from just 31% as recently as 2011”, Hands added. “And when carton recycling bring banks are included 92% of local authorities now collect cartons for recycling.”

ACE UK has a dedicated recycling team which offers advice and support to local authorities and community recycling networks wishing to collect cartons. An interactive map on the ACE UK website ( also helps residents find out where and how they can recycle beverage cartons in their area.

To find out more about beverage carton recycling, visit:

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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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