Beverage cartons are made from two or three main materials, depending on whether the carton is for long or short shelf-life products:
All of the materials used in the manufacture of beverage cartons are recyclable at end of life, helping to reduce the use of virgin materials and cut carbon emissions.
The high-quality wood fibres in cartons are long and strong, and can be recycled up to six times, making them a valuable raw material for new paper and board products. At the UK recycling facility, opening in mid-2013, the reprocessed fibre will be recycled into coreboard, ready to make cores and tubes for consumer and industrial applications, such as cling film, textiles and paper.
The aluminium and plastic can either be recycled together, into composite materials, such as stationery, or separately to produce products including fuel (from the polymers) or aluminium flakes for new products, such as cars. ACE UK is currently working on a solution to also recycle/recover the polymer and aluminium layers in the UK.
Beverage carton recycling in the UK