Rising waste collection and recycling: Europe’s optimal solution for a true circularity


48% of beverage cartons were recycled in the EU in 2017, marking the twelfth consecutive year of increased recycling of our cartons. The European beverage carton industry is proud of this achievement and remains dedicated to increasing its recycling performance.

ACE members are confident that the recycling performance of beverage cartons will continue to increase thanks to the industry’s commitment and the newly adopted waste legislative package which mandates the separate collection of all packaging.

The pre-condition to any recycling is collection. Where separate collection is applied and  sometimes coupled with a landfill ban on packaging, beverage carton recycling rates reach over 70%. The success of the new waste measures will depend heavily on their implementation at national level, so we very much hope that Member States will implement separate collection to its full potential.

The beverage carton industry is also determined to support beverage carton recycling through a new recycling platform dedicated to optimising collection and recycling in Europe.

Beverage cartons are generally made up of 75% paperboard, 21% polymers and 4% aluminium. The new platform will also address the recycling of the non-paper components. In addition, new and exciting projects are already underway in Germany and the Netherlands to recover the Poly-Aluminium components and grant them a new life in secondary products.

Ambitious waste collection, sorting and recycling systems benefit our environment and climate, resulting in less littering and a reduced carbon footprint. Tackling any kind of littering requires a multi-stakeholder approach as well as pragmatic solutions such as awareness raising campaigns and collection of all packaging. Only through coordinated action can we ensure increased and effective recycling.

Ola Svending, ACE Acting President

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