Fresh from ACE: New platform to drive and coordinate beverage carton recycling in Europe


In May, ACE members announced the launch of a dedicated platform to drive and coordinate the industry’s engagement in beverage carton recycling. The new platform will be based in Frankfurt and will complement ACE’s work on EU policy. Dr. Heike Schiffler, Circular Economy Director Europe & Central Asia, Greater China, Greater Middle East & Africa at Tetra Pak GmbH & Co KG explains: 

ACE recently published annual rates for the recycling of beverage cartons in the EU, reaching 48% in 2017. ACE’s members are keen to see the BC recycling rates increase even further. How will the recycling platform contribute to further growth in beverage carton recycling in Europe?

The new platform has the purpose of optimising the collection and recycling of used beverage cartons across Europe, including the recycling of non-paper components. This implies three key activity areas. Firstly to identify opportunities and develop cross-country or country specific strategies for collection, sorting and recycling. Secondly to coordinate and support actors in the recycling value chain in implementing the identified solutions. Thirdly and lastly to optimize the cost of collection, transport and recycling.

The platform will be set up by the members of ACE. Will the platform be solely dedicated to beverage cartons or is it open to collaboration with other materials?

When building this new platform from scratch we will take the opportunity to investigate potential alliances or cooperation projects with other national or international associations with similar or comparable purposes. New and upcoming legislation is challenging the entire packaging industry. This requires us to think and act differently. We are determined to do just that and explore synergies with other packaging materials as much as possible, if there is a common interest. We will look at the whole recycling value chain to identify and close gaps, improve recyclability, and increase recycling rates.

What are the main challenges to increased BC recycling in your view?

The EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive requires all packaging to be collected. Member States need to secure that collection infrastructure is developed to fulfil this requirement, but there is no evident mechanism that collected packaging will be recycled. Not all Member States have a recycling target specific to beverage cartons. It is important for recycling capacities to be in place to secure the high quality mechanical recycling of collected quantities. The new platform will drive this.

This article has been published in the ACE Newsletter Autumn 2018.