Some 420.000 tonnes of beverage cartons were recycled in paper mills in 2014, according to industry-wide figures, released by the The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE).
The figure represents a recycling rate of 43% in Europe (EU-28, Norway and Switzerland) and is evidence of the continuing upward trend in recycling performance over the last two decades, according to ACE.
The total recovery rate (recycling and energy recovery) in 2014 reached 76%.
“Beverage carton recycling continued its long term growth trend also in 2014”, Bertil Heerink, director general of ACE, said.
Several countries including Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and Spain recycle 70% or more of all beverage cartons put on the market. A steady increase is seen in new EU member states and substantial advance in the UK.
“The beverage carton industry is continuously working to increase recycling levels of our products in Europe”, said Heerink. “We are firmly committed to contribute to the objectives of the European Commission Circular Economy Package.
“However, the legal proposals need to look ahead to 2030 and recognise the changing market demands and foster innovation in packaging solutions, materials and recycling techniques.“
“To grow recycling, EU waste legislation needs to ensure effective collection and recycling of end of life products and recyclable packaging such as beverage cartons through Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).
“Further efforts are needed on banning packaging waste from landfilling to ensure valuable raw materials are not ending up in landfills or being unnecessarily incinerated,” he concludes.”
ACE also announced significant progress has been made by ACE beverage carton manufacturers towards achieving full certification of the wood fibre used in cartons demonstrating legality and traceability, and of the factories that produce them worldwide.
The ACE industry commitment aims to put in place, globally, 100% chain-of-custody certification coverage by 2015 for all paperboard purchased, and by 2018 for all converting plants. Moving towards this goal, in 2014, 98% of the fibers purchased worldwide were proven to be FSC®certified or FSC controlled wood compared to 93% in 2013. In addition, 96% of the converting plants owned by Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc are now FSC Chain-of-Custody (CoC) certified.
This is the conclusion of ProForest, an independent verifier of natural resource management, in its eighth annual report on the chain of custody commitment made globally by the three companies in 2007.
“On the whole we are very pleased with our progress towards meeting our commitments” said Bertil Heerink, Director-general of ACE. “With our global commitment, ACE beverage carton producers are putting principles of circular economy into practice. We believe that responsible sourcing of primary raw materials is critical for sustainable economic growths and safeguarding competitiveness of European producers.”