Factsheets > Carton Recycling

The UK’s Beverage carton manufacturers produce 60,000 tonnes of cartons each year.

The carton is a light weight, easily transported, energy saving and biodegradable packaging type.

Produced from trees, cartons offer a great opportunity to reclaim their high quality wood based fibres, and 75% of them are made of wood sourced from sustainable forests.

Cartons are the only beverage packaging to be made from a renewable resource.

Once recycled the cartons are transformed into a variety of paper based products.


Before You Bin it:
Cartons are now collected by over 370 local authorities across the country, which equates to 86 per cent of UK and Guernsey local authority areas.

Cartons must be rinsed out and dried, before pulling the “ears” out to flatten them. Any plastic pourers must be cut out and removed before putting them in the recycling boxes.

It is also possible to post beverage cartons to the ace UK collection site for recycling. The cartons must be packed into a cardboard box ready for postage. Labels are available at the ace UK website.


UK Recycling:
The UK has to meet a EU recycling target for all materials that end up as waste. The UK’s current recycling and recovery target for cardboard and paper is 69.5%.

The UK’s first carton recycling plant was opened in 2003, run by leading recyclers Smith-Anderson and the Liquid Carton Manufacturing Association.

After collection, the beverage cartons are pressed and baled up, ready for the next stage of pulping. The baled cartons are dropped into the pulper, where liquid is added. Within five minutes the essential fibre has been separated from other materials to form a thick brown/grey soup.

Once separated the pulp is made into other paper products.



Why Recycle?:

  • Recycling helps to cut waste disposal costs
  • Cartons cannot be recycled indefinitely but they can be recycled around six to eight times before the fibres weaken.
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