Carton manufacturers focus on verified traceability

The UK's largest producers of beverage cartons are well on track to meet their commitment to source 100% 'fully traceable' wood fibre by 2015, according to a new industry report.

The seventh annual Proforest report reveals that 93% of wood fibre purchased globally by members of the Alliance for Beverage Cartons & the Environment (ACE) – Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc – in 2013 was either FSC-certified fibre or originated from FSC-controlled wood. This is a rise from almost 90% last year.

“It is great to see Proforest report that good progress has been made by our members towards achieving the stretching targets set in 2007”, said ACE UK’s chief executive Richard Hands.”Traceability is one of our industry’s most important strategies to combat illegal logging, and is equally important in avoiding socially and environmentally unacceptable sources of wood.

“It is also good news that only six more converting plants need to be certified to meet our commitment of 100% CoC (Chain of Custody) certification of all beverage carton manufacturing plants by 2018.”

The main raw material for the production of cartons is wood fibre, which is a renewable resource. In Sweden and Finland, where most of the wood fibre for European beverage cartons originates, forests are expanding with growth in forest volume increasing year-on-year as annual growth actually exceeds cuttings.

Chain of Custody

To date, cartons collected for recycling in the UK have been sent to Europe for recycling, but a new plant opened last year in Yorkshire now takes 25,000 tonnes of the cartons each year.

According to WRAP, 93% of councils were collecting plastic bottles at the kerbside in 2011/12. This compares with the 39% that took cartons, though some offer services at bring sites.

All of the fibre already used in the EU already comes from plants which are FSC-chain-of-custody certified. In addition, 46 (89%) of the 52 converting plants owned by ACE beverage carton producers worldwide are now FSC-chain-of-custody certified, which is up from 81% in 2012. This means there are only six more converting plants to be certified to meet the ACE commitment of securing CoC certification for all beverage carton manufacturing plants by 2018.

“ACE members have a clear interest in ensuring that forests are responsibly managed as, on average, 75% of a beverage carton is made from this natural renewable material,” concluded Hands.

View the seventh annual Proforest report on ACE’s Chain of Custody (CoC) commitment below.

Luke Nicholls

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