Resource minister Lord de Mauley has opened the UK’s only dedicated facility for the recycling of beverage cartons near Halifax, West Yorkshire.
The plant will have a capacity of 25,000 tonnes per year - around 40% of the cartons manufactured annually for the UK food and drinks market.
The facility is a joint initiative between paper and packaging producer Sonoco Alcore and trade body Alliance for Beverage Cartons & the Environment (ACE)UK, which represents beverage carton manufacturer Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combiblo.
Resource minister Lord de Mauley (left) said: “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.”
ACE UK said cartons collected by over 180 local authorities are ready to be sent to the plant. Another 10 councils are expected to join the enterprise by the end of 2013.
Richard Hands, chief executive at ACE UK, said: “Kerbside recycling schemes provide the most convenient collection method for consumers and we expect more cartons to be collected in this way now that local authorities have a secure domestic market for this material stream.”
When running at its full capacity the facility has the potential to reduce landfill taxes and gate fees for local authorities by £3.6m, based on 2013 levels, according to ACE UK.
The facility will not impose a gate fee, but will offer a price per tonnage of high quality material sent to it, said the trade body.
In July ACE UK launched a campaign to encourage local authorities to engage in beverage carton recycling under the slogan: “I love that my beverage cartons are recycled in the UK”.
Update: A previous version of this article stated the Sonoco Alcore’s carton recycling plant was the first in the UK. This has been amended.