A drinks carton reprocessing plant is set to be operational in the UK by 2013 following an agreement between packaging producer Sonoco Alcore and the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) UK.
The Halifax-based plant, the only one of its kind in the UK, will be capable of recycling 25,000 tonnes of cartons sorted from household and commercial waste streams by local authorities and waste management contractors.
Currently, cartons collected by ACE UK are reprocessed in mills in mainland Europe.
The new mill will enable local authorities with no-export policies on waste to recycle cartons in the UK and to avoid landfill tax and greenhouse emissions.
The wood fibres found in drinks cartons can be recycled into a raw material for new paperboard products.
At the Sonoco Alcore plant the reprocessed paperboard layers will be recycled into consumer and industrial products, such as the tubes for cling film and the cores for rolls of textiles.
ACE UK chief executive Richard Hands said: "This decision underlines the firm commitment of our members, who include Tetra Pak, SIG Combibloc and Elopak to constantly improve the environmental performance of their beverage cartons.
"The already low-carbon footprint will become even lower, valuable materials will go back into the UK economy and local authorities can meet the expectations of many householders that their waste should be reprocessed in this country."
ACE UK said that collection coverage for beverage cartons is already high with 89% of households able to recycle cartons via kerbside collection or bring-bank systems, compared to just 20% in 2006.
Kerbside collection in the UK has increased tenfold from 4% of local authorities in 2006 to 43% in 2012.
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