Frugalpac is planning to launch a new beverage carton in November which can be processed at existing paper recycling facilities.
The Frugal Carton is made with materials that are not bonded together: the outer shell is made from 100% paperboard with a waterproof foil bag inside. These two components can easily be separated by the consumer in the same way that they would remove the bag from inside a cereal box.
In order to dispose of the carton, the consumer tears off the top and disposes of the foil bag, while the cardboard shell can be put out for recycling. Even if the consumer does not separate the bag from the outer shell, the carton can still be recycled in a standard paper mill.
A Frugalpac spokesperson said the carton would be launched “hopefully in November”, and by January next year at the latest.
According to a report by Intertek, commissioned by Frugalpac, there are currently two billion cartons (60,000 tonnes) purchased in the UK every year but only one in 10 is recycled, leaving 1.8 billion cartons going into landfill.
The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE UK) which runs the carton industry’s recycling programme, strongly refutes the Intertek report figures.
ACE UK said in a statement: “Currently there is no third-party audited rate for carton recycling in the UK. When an audited figure is available we will make it public. We are confident that it is substantially higher than the 1 in 10 figures quoted in this report and indeed higher than the global rate of 25%.
“The claim that cartons are not being recycled is incorrect and counterproductive, potentially deterring consumers from recycling.”
Conventional cartons are made of a laminate of several layers of plastic tightly bonded to cardboard. The only existing specialist recycling facility in the UK that can accept laminated cartons is operated by ACE Sonoco in West Yorkshire and funded by carton manufacturers.
The plant breaks down cartons by raising the temperature of the water, adding chemicals and extending the time taken by reprocessing. This system generates recycled cardboard and a plastic and aluminium fraction. ACE needs a dedicated collection system, and claims the proportion of UK local authorities collecting beverage cartons for recycling from kerbside is 67%.
Frugalpac chief executive Martin Myerscough said: “The Frugal Carton fits well within our company’s ambition to make significant improvements in the recycling rates of everyday packaging.”
Frugalpac also created the first recyclable coffee cup last year, which features layers that can be seperated and recycled, unlike traditonal cups.