European beverage carton industry developing new platform to drive recycling

The European beverage carton industry is set to launch a new dedicated platform to increase carton recycling across Europe in the wake of the final ratification of the EU’s Circular Economy Packaging (CEP) by the Council of Ministers.

Following the announcement last week (22 May) that the CEP, which includes a set of revised waste directives that will see targets of a 55 per cent municipal recycling rate by 2025, 60 per cent by 2030 and 65 per cent by 2035, along with specific targets for packaging (70 per cent of all packaging by 2030, 85 per cent for paper and cardboard), would now enter into law, the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) revealed on its website that it would be creating a new platform to drive action towards the recycling targets.European beverage carton industry to set up new platform to drive recycling

Currently, around 420,000 tonnes of beverage cartons are recycled across Europe, representing a recycling rate of 43 per cent, but this will have to increase to reach the new 85 per cent target for paper and cardboard packaging. Beverage cartons prove particularly tricky for recyclers due to their composite nature, incorporating several materials including cardboard and plastic.

The new platform will be based in Frankfurt, Germany, and work with ACE to ensure that the beverage carton industry’s voice is heard by EU lawmakers. It will also closely collaborate with national carton industry associations, member company initiatives and other stakeholders.

Quoted on the organisation’s website, Kristian Hall, ACE President, said: “Our industry is committed to supporting increased recycling of its packages and securing long-term sustainable recycling solutions. Hence, the members of ACE, BillerudKorsnäs, Elopak, SIG Combibloc, Stora Enso and Tetra Pak, have decided to launch a dedicated platform to drive and coordinate the industry’s engagement in beverage carton recycling, including the non-paper components of our packages across Europe.

“Recognising that sustainable recycling programs require collaboration within and beyond our own industry, the new platform will actively seek alliances and partnerships with industry actors sharing similar needs to optimise recycling solutions.

“We have come a long way to reach our current recycling rate of 47 per cent in Europe, despite the absence of a specific recycling target for beverage cartons in the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive. With this additional initiative and partnerships, we are confident we will be able to achieve the Directive’s overall recycling rate objective of 55 per cent by 2025 and 65 per cent by 2035.”
Elopak, SIG Combibloc and Tetra Pack are represented by ACE UK, the UK arm of ACE. In August of last year, ACE UK reported favourably on the state of beverage carton recycling in the UK, producing figures revealing that 92 per cent of local authorities now collect beverage cartons for recycling.

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