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EU beverage carton recycling rate continues to grow

22/12/2015 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 43% of beverage cartons were recycled in 2014, equivalent to approximately 420,000 tonnes of cartons.

This uplift has been aided by a strong performance in UK carton recycling. Across the EU as a whole the continuing upward trend is complemented by a 5% rise in the total recovery rate (comprising recycling and energy recovery) to 76%, up from 71 % in 2013.

Richard Hands, Chief Executive of ACE UK, which represents carton manufacturers Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc, said: “The continuing upward trend in the EU carton recycling rate in 2014 is good news, helped by a strong performance in the UK. “The number of UK local authorities collecting cartons at kerbside for recycling has risen to 63% in 2015 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.”

In 2013 the UK’s first dedicated recycling facility for beverage cartons opened in Stainland, West Yorkshire. The facility, a partnership between ACE UK and global paper and packaging manufacturer Sonoco Alcore, is transforming beverage carton recycling in the UK.

Beverage cartons are easily recycled using a simple pulping process, where the paperboard and non-fibre layers are separated and turned into new materials. The wood fibres can be used to produce new high-strength paper products, such as cores and tubes for consumer and industrial applications, while the remaining mixture of polymer and foil is recycled separately.

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:

*EU 28 member states plus Norway and Switzerland.


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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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