Labour MEP for Yorkshire and The Humber, Linda McAvan, today visited the UK’s only dedicated beverage carton recycling facility, to see how it is boosting recycling rates and bringing the circular economy a step nearer.
Opened in September last year and located in Stainland (near Halifax), West Yorkshire, the facility is capable of recycling up to 40% of the cartons manufactured each year for the UK food and drink market – that’s 25,000 tonnes or 1.25 billion cartons.
The plant is the result of an innovative partnership between the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) UK – representing the leading beverage carton manufacturers Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc – and paper and packaging producer Sonoco Alcore, and offers a number of benefits to local authorities including:
· A clearly-defined domestic end destination for used beverage cartons- local authorities and residents can be assured their waste is being recycled in the UK.
· A stable price per tonne for cartons delivered – a more sustainable option compared to the price fluctuations on the global commodities market
· A reduction in road and rail miles travelled by used beverage cartons for them to be recycled
· An opportunity for local authorities with no-export policies to recycle cartons in the UK, rather than send them to landfill or an incinerator
Since the facility opened a further 19 local authorities have introduced kerbside collection of cartons, increasing the total to 57% nationally. This means that, when local authorities that collect cartons via bring banks are included, 40% now send them to the new UK recycling plant.
As spokesperson for the Socialist and Democrat Group on the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, Linda McAvan has a special interest in environmental matters. Commenting during her visit she said: "This plant is an excellent example of UK businesses taking responsibility for product at end of life and ensuring that valuable resources are not lost.
"Recycling reduces both waste and the consumption of virgin materials, and the development of UK recycling infrastructure is not only good for the environment, it creates jobs and improves the ability of the UK waste industry to compete with our European neighbours. I am particularly delighted to see this facility developed within my own constituency."
Commenting on the visit Richard Hands, Chief Executive, ACE UK, said: "We are very pleased to welcome Linda McAvan to our new facility. The plant is a game-changer in our on-going work to increase carton recycling in the UK. As well as providing significant benefits to local authorities, we know from our research that consumers are even more likely to recycle their cartons knowing they will be recycled here in the UK.
"Ensuring that beverage cartons can be easily recycled is an important part of the beverage carton industry’s commitment to sustainability."