Tetra Pak and Veolia have forged a partnership to ensure that all the components of used beverage cartons collected within the European Union can be recycled by 2025.
An average carton comprises around 75% paperboard, 20% plastic and 5% aluminium foil. Fibres recovered during recycling are economically converted into high-quality paper pulp for use in both industrial and consumer products – but there are currently no healthy markets for the recovered polymer and aluminium (PolyAl) mix.
Under the new partnership, the extracted PolyAl will be processed at dedicated facilities and converted into raw materials for applications within the plastic industry. The companies expect this innovation to double the overall value of used beverage cartons, making the value chain for collection and recycling more efficient and viable. Tetra Pak and Veolia hope their EU partnership can be expanded to more markets around the world.
Lisa Ryden, recycling director at Tetra Pak, says every material used in beverage cartons is capable of being recycled. ‘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,’ she says.
According to Laurent Auguste, senior EVP development, innovation & markets at Veolia, the partnership brings together Veolia’s 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. We are proud to embark on this journey with Tetra Pak to sustain and grow beverage carton recycling. At Veolia we work every day to make waste a valuable resource, and are constantly developing innovative solutions, and investing in technologies, as part of our wider commitment to living circular.’