Some 420.000 tonnes of beverage cartons were recycled in paper mills in 2014, according to industry-wide figures. This 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. The total recovery rate (recycling and energy recovery) in 2014 reached 76%.
“Beverage carton recycling continued its long term growth trend also in 2014”, says Bertil Heerink, Director General of ACE. 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”, says 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.