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Opportunities to recycle beverage cartons increase as kerbside coverage hits 40%


Latest figures from the Alliance for Beverage Cartons & the Environment (ACE) UK show that two out of five UK local authorities now collect beverage cartons for recycling from kerbside.

Bristol City and Bath & North East Somerset are the latest councils to introduce kerbside collection for beverage cartons, bringing the total figure to 162 out of 406 nationally.

“We are delighted that our strategy to increase kerbside collection is paying dividends”, said Richard Hands, Chief Executive of ACE UK.

“Since the beginning of 2011 the number of UK local authorities collecting cartons for recycling from the kerbside has risen from 31% to 40% and we expect this trend to continue.  By comparison, only 4% of local authorities collected cartons as part of their kerbside services in 2006.

“Our aim is to make it easy for all householders to recycle their cartons by helping local authorities move to kerbside collection as soon as possible.”

Overall, 88% of households in the UK now have access to carton recycling – either through kerbside collection or the industry’s own bring-bank system – compared to just 20% in 2006. This increase follows significant investment from ACE UK members, Elopak, SIG Combibloc and Tetra Pak, and years of working closely with local authorities and consumer groups.

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

Linda Crichton, Head of Collections & Quality Programme at WRAP, comments: “ACE UK continues to demonstrate real commitment to working with local authorities to increase kerbside collection of beverage cartons. These efforts are highly commendable and will lead to further increases in the carton recycling rate. We will continue to support the carton industry on their strategy to increase the rate further still."

Bath & North East Somerset Councillor David Dixon, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “We’ve listened to local people who have told us they want to recycle foods and drinks cartons. Bath & North East Somerset Council is always looking at ways to extend recycling and waste reduction services to make it easier for households to help the environment and cut Landfill Tax charges. We are very pleased to offer this new service.

“If residents make full use of their green recycling box, blue bags for cardboard and food waste recycling bin collections they should have very little left to put out for the rubbish collection.”

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 envelopes and carrier bags, while the polymer and foil layers can be recycled or used for energy recovery.

To find out more about beverage carton recycling, click here.

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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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