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First UK carton recycling plant opens in Yorkshire

4th September 2013

cartonIn a major boost the UK’s recycling industry, a new recycling facility with the capacity to recycle up to 40% of cartons used in the UK every year has opened in Stainland near Halifax. The plant has been a joint venture between packaging manufacturer Sonoco Alcore and the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) – the industry group which represents packaging manufacturers Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc – and could recycle an annual 25,000 tonnes of materials collected from local authorities and ACE’s UK-wide bring banks network. Lord de Mauley, UK resource minister, opened the plant yesterday (3rd September) and said: “Dealing with waste and recycling properly is not only good for the environment but can boost economic growth and create jobs.” “This new recycling plant is an exciting development and I’m delighted to see businesses working together to improve our ability to recycle more here in the UK. There is a huge global market for waste and recycling and I want to see UK businesses leading the way on this and helping us compete in the global race.” Currently, the UK’s waste cartons are shipped to Sweden for recycling – a high energy solution to the reprocessing of the waste packaging - so by developing a domestic recycling facility UK carbon emissions will be cut by up to 122 tonnes a year. Landfill taxes and gates fees for Local Authorities are also expected to drop by £3.6m, providing that they send their carton collections to the Stainland facility. Cartons are approximately 75% cardboard, 21% polymer and 4% aluminium. The plant will separate the card from the cartons to be reprocessed by Sonoco Alcore as industrial strength core-board for cling film tubes and cores for textile rolls while the fine polymer and aluminium layers will be stripped for later consideration into how best to recycle these compounds – a solution is expected to be in place by 2014. ACE UK chief executive Richard Hands said of the UKs current carton recycling habits: "The number of local authorities collecting cartons at the kerbside has increased more than ten-fold in the last six years. We expect more cartons to be collected in this way now that local authorities have a secure domestic market for this material stream." No figures have been released yet as to the investment cost for developing the facility but a spokesperson for Sonoco Alcore and ACE insisted that is was “a mutually beneficial project”.   For more information on recycling your carton waste or meeting your packaging producer obligations email, packaging@complydirect.com or call 0844 873 1034.