Wales helps tips UK beverage carton recycling rate over 50% mark

Ceredigion County Council's decision to collect beverage cartons from households has helped push the coverage of kerbside collections by local authorities to over 50% in the UK.

The latest figures from the Alliance for Beverage Cartons & the Environment (ACE) UK reveal that over half of UK local authorities now offer kerbside recycling of beverage cartons, a 12-fold increase on 2006 levels.

When ACE UK’s own bring-bank system is included, the percentage of local authorities that collect cartons for recycling rises to 89%. The Welsh local authority introduced its kerbside collection on 1 April in an effort to improve its own recycling rate.

A further boost is expected in late 2013 when the UK’s only beverage carton reprocessing facility at the Sonoco Alcore paper mill near Halifax, West Yorkshire opens for business.

Capable of recycling 25,000 tonnes of cartons sorted from household and commercial waste streams, the facility will offer a range of benefits to local authorities and their waste management contractors.

Responding to the recent development in Wales, WRAP’s head of collections & quality programme Linda Crichton said: “The 50% kerbside collection figure … marks a real milestone and bodes well for the future of carton recycling in the UK.”

Around 60,000 tonnes of paper-based cartons are used in the UK every year to package milk, fruit juice and an increasingly wide range of food products, including soup, chopped tomatoes and pulses.

This equates to around 2.3kg of cartons per household, which could be recycled instead of being thrown away as waste.

Nick Warburton

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie