Food and drink cartons are fully recyclable. Following significant investment from our members and our work with Local Authorities and others, the overwhelming majority of UK Local Authorities now recycle food and drink cartons, either through household kerbside collections or ACE UK’s own bring bank network. Cartons are also proposed to be on Government’s list of core materials to be included in all household kerbside collections by 2023, under new consistent collections regulations currently under consultation.
ACE UK runs its own dedicated food and drink carton reprocessing facility here in the UK, set up and opened in 2013 in partnership with paper and packaging producer Sonoco Alcore.
All cartons collected via ACE UK’s bring bank network are recycled here and we encourage Local Authorities and waste management companies to use this facility too.
How are food and drink cartons recycled at the facility?
The baled cartons are dropped into a pulper, which resembles a giant food mixer. They are pulped with water for around 20 minutes, which delaminates the packaging, breaking it down into a slurry.
The different layers of material are then separated, and the fibre is recycled at the on-site paper mill to make coreboard, which is used for tubes for a variety of industrial applications. The polymer and aluminium layers are sent to a facility in Europe, where they are separated and recycled.