A new recycling plant which will be able to recycle more than a million food and drinks cartons a year has been opened.
The UK’s only dedicated plant for recycling cartons such as Tetra Pak will be able to turn up to 40% of the 25,000 tonnes of cartons produced for the food and drinks market each year into industrial-strength paperboard.
The polythene and aluminium which also form part of the cartons will be separated as part of the recycling system and stored while different approaches to recycling and recovering them are assessed.
It is hoped that the facility in Stainland, which could recycle as many as 1.25 million cartons a year, will help boost recycling rates for the containers, which previously had to be sent to Europe to be recycled.
It will offer local authorities who have policies not to export any waste for recycling an alternative to sending them to landfill, and cut the emissions associated with transporting them to recycling facilities abroad, the project’s backers said.
The plant is a joint initiative between the major beverage carton manufacturers and paper and packaging producer Sonoco Alcore which will turn the cartons into the new product at its paper mill on the same site.
Environment Minister Lord de Mauley, who is officially opening the plant, said: “Dealing with waste and recycling properly is not only good for the environment, but can boost economic growth and create jobs.
“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.”