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Half of UK Authorities Collect Drink Cartons at Curbside

The percentage of local authorities collecting recyclable beverage cartons in the UK has reached 50%, according to the Alliance for Beverage Cartons & the Environment (ACE) UK.

The latest figures indicate a 12-fold increase from 2006 levels, writes Environment & Energy Management. At this time, 203 or 406 counties include beverage cartons in their curbside recycling. When the UK’s first beverage carton reprocessing facility at the Sonoco Alcore paper mill opens later this year, opportunities to recycle beverage cartons are expected to increase again. The new facility will be capable of recycling 25,000 tonnes of cartons, and 187 local authority areas have already signed on to send their materials to the new plant for recycling.

The article says that approximately 60,000 tonnes of paper-based cartons are used in the UK, or about 2.3kg of cartons per household.

ACE represents packaging companies such as Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc. The group says the growth in beverage carton recycling follows cooperative efforts between ACE, its members, local authorities and consumer groups.

In the US, the percentage of households that can recycle cartons has grown from 18 percent in 2009 to more than 40 percent at the end of 2012, according to the Carton Council, a collaboration between carton manufactures Elopak, SIG Combibloc, Evergreen Packaging and Tetra Pak that aims to increase recycling rates of their products.

Cartons are a highly recyclable product, the manufacturers say. They describe the paper fiber contained in cartons as extremely valuable and useful in making new products. Depending on what area of the country the cartons are recycled in and which paper mill they are sent to, recycled cartons can be made into office paper and tissues, and can be used as one of the materials for wallboard manufacturing. There is a high demand for recycled cartons, and recycling cartons increases waste diversion from landfills while also offering a potential revenue stream, the group says.

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