How Europe is making beverage cartons recyclable by 2025
Currently, the paperboard component of the average beverage carton can be converted into high-quality paper pulp for use in both industrial and consumer products but the plastic and aluminium foil, which is recovered as polymer and aluminium (PolyAl) mix, is not recyclable.
So while 75% of the carton can be converted into high-quality paper pulp for use in both industrial and consumer products, 25% currently can’t be recycled.
The Tetra Pak/Veolia partnership intends to process the extracted PolyAl at dedicated facilities where it will be converted into raw materials for applications within the plastic industry.
In this way, the overall value of used beverage cartons is expected to double, making the value chain for collection and recycling more efficient and viable.
As the partnership becomes more proficient, the participants would like to expand to more markets around the world.
“All materials from beverage cartons can be fully recycled into something new and useful. Our approach to recycling involves working with many partners along the value chain, because a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The challenge in the EU is to achieve the economies of scale and turn PolyAl into high-value secondary materials,” explained Lisa Ryden, Recycling Director, Tetra Pak.
Laurent Auguste, Senior EVP Development, Innovation & Markets, Veolia added, “This partnership joins together our resource management expertise and Tetra Pak’s packaging material expertise. We will develop an environmentally and economically sustainable solution to recycling PolyAl, first in the EU, and then Asia, to improve collection, technology and processes.”
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