Tetra Pak and Veolia Join Forces to
Improve Drinks Carton Recycling
Tetra Pak and Veolia have joined forces to make sure that all parts of used drinks cartons collected within the EU can be recycled by 2025.
The average drinks carton is made up of about 75% paperboard, 20% plastic, and 5% aluminium foil. The paperboard fibres are recovered during recycling and are turned into paper pulp to make industrial and consumer products, but there’s currently no worthwhile markets for the recovered plastic polymers and aluminium mix (known as PolyAl).
Now thanks to Tetra Pak and Veolia, the PolyAl will be processed at specialist facilities and turned into raw materials that can be used within the plastics industry. They are hoping that this will double the value of used drinks cartons which will make it more desirable for recycling firms to collect them, and more efficient to recycle them. There are hopes that the partnership can be expanded around the world.
The recycling director at Tetra Pak said that every material in drinks cartons can be recycled and that the company works with many partners to convince them of the value of those materials. She added that the challenge in the EU is to turn PolyAl into a high value material on an industrial and therefore economically viable scale.
The head of innovation and markets at Veolia said that the partnership brings Veolia’s resource management expertise and Tetra Pak’s packaging material knowledge together. He said that they will develop a sustainable and economically viable solution to recycling PolyAl, in the EU in the first instance and then in Asia. The focus will be on improving drinks carton recycling collections, technology, and processes. He added that Veolia was proud to work with Tetra Pak to increase drinks carton recycling and that the company works every day to make sure waste is seen as a valuable resource. Veolia is working on innovative recycling solutions and technology as part of its commitment to contributing towards achieving a circular economy.