On Wednesday 18 July, the Alliance for Beverage Cartons & the Environment (ACE) UK and Sonoco Alcore welcomed Craig Whittaker MP to the site that will host the UK’s only beverage carton reprocessing facility.
Situated at the Sonoco Alcore paper mill in Stainland, within Mr Whittaker’s constituency of Calder Valley, West Yorkshire, the plant will be operational from 2013 and capable of recycling 25,000 tonnes of cartons sorted from household and commercial waste streams by local authorities and their waste management contractors.
“It was an honour to host Mr Whittaker’s visit to the Sonoco Alcore paper mill where our new reprocessing facility will be built, and to receive his recognition and support for this significant development for UK beverage carton recycling”, commented Richard Hands, Chief Executive of ACE UK. “This project underlines the firm commitment of our members – Tetra Pak, SIG Combibloc and Elopak – to constantly improve the environmental performance of their beverage cartons and we look forward to sharing our progress of the project build.”
Collection coverage for beverage cartons is already high. As a result of close working between ACE UK and local authorities, 89% of households can recycle cartons – either through kerbside collection or through the industry’s own bring-bank system – compared to just 20% in 2006. Kerbside coverage in the UK has increased tenfold from 4% of local authorities in 2006 to 44% in 2012. As the UK mill offers numerous benefits to local authorities, kerbside coverage and carton recycling rates are now expected to increase even more dramatically.
The high-quality wood fibres found in beverage cartons are flexible and strong, and can be recycled making them a valuable raw material for new paperboard products. The Sonoco Alcore plant will recycle the reprocessed paperboard layers into consumer and industrial products, such as the tubes for cling film and the cores for rolls of textiles.
Beverage carton recycling in the UK