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Beverage carton recyclers call for more EU support

Europe – To secure future growth in carton recycling, there is a need for EU regulatory support and a ‘clear legal requirement’ for collection, states the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE).

Last year, the beverage carton recycling rate reached 42% in Europe for an increase of three percentage points over 2012, according to ACE. The total recovery rate – covering material recycling and energy recovery – was 71% last year.

ACE’s general director Katharina Molin comments: ‘We see a continued upward trend in beverage carton recycling in Europe, but there are still wide differences as regards recycling achievements across EU member states.’ While some EU countries have achieved ‘impressive’ recycling figures above 60%, several ‘still lag behind in the development of collection infrastructure and separate collection of consumer packaging, which also affects the recycling rate of beverage cartons’.

More than 20 paper mills are currently recycling beverage cartons in Europe and substantial investments have been made in innovative recycling technologies. ‘We are very pleased to see that beverage carton recycling continues to increase,’ says Molin. ‘However, in order to secure continued growth also in the future, EU regulatory support and a clear legal requirement to collect beverage cartons for recycling are required.’

Molin acknowledges the role of the European Commission’s Circular Economy Package in driving further recycling in Europe. ‘But we regret that the proposal mandates member states to set potentially divergent packaging design requirements, threatening the function of the internal market,’ she adds.

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