We take a value chain approach to recycling. This means working on everything from consumer awareness, and collection and sorting infrastructure, through to expanding market opportunities for recycled materials. Partnering and connecting stakeholders is critical to building sustainable recycling value chains. We have an open approach to partnership, and collaborate and associate with a wide range of local and global stakeholders, including waste management companies, recyclers, municipalities industry associations and equipment suppliers.
Recyclers: Companies recycling used beverage cartons range from family owned small entrepreneurs to multinational companies. Beverage cartons are currently being recycled in more than 70 countries worldwide with a range of collection and recycling solutions reflecting the maturity of the individual market. Since 2010, we have increased the number of facilities that recycle beverage cartons that we work with from 40 to more than 160. The map shows the breadth and variety of the many businesses recycling the materials of post consumer cartons.
Associations: We have learned that working in partnership with others is essential to making recycling value chains work. We are members of several associations and organisations that promote and drive recycling in different areas. We are often involved as founders and board members, helping set and deliver strategy. We share some examples below:
ACE: The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment provides a European platform for Tetra Pak (and other major beverage carton manufacturers) and their paperboard suppliers to benchmark and profile cartons as renewable, recyclable and low-carbon packaging solutions. The association engages with stakeholders and partners and contributes expertise to EU policy, legislation and standard-setting.
Through our membership of ACE, we were instrumental in getting a paper cup recycling initiative off the ground. In October 2017, organisations from across the paper cup supply chain signed an agreement with ACE UK to establish paper cup recycling alongside carton packages in ‘bring banks’ (which cover 25% of the UK). ACE UK will also work to include cups in local authority curb-side collections.
The greater volumes of recycling material generated by this initiative will improve the beverage carton recycling stream, strength the business case for carton recycling and contribute to a sustainable recycling value chain in the UK. This initiative complements Tetra Pak’s existing activities, while raising awareness of our work
In 2018, we cofounded the EXTR:ACT platform to foster recycling of beverage cartons, including the non-paper components, such as polymers and aluminium. This new platform will help the beverage industry take additional measures to increase recycling of its packages, scale and drive value for recycling solutions and secure their long-term sustainability.
"We have come a long way to reach our current recycling rate of 48% in Europe, despite the absence of a specific recycling target for beverage cartons in the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive. With this new initiative and partnerships, we are confident we will be able to achieve a significantly increased collection and recycling rate by 2025,"
Heike Schiffler, Tetra Pak's Circular Economy Director Europe and President of EXTR:ACT
CEFLEX: This collaborative initiative is a European consortium of companies and associations representing the entire value chain of flexible packaging. Their mission is to make flexible packaging more relevant to the circular economy by collaborating to create better system design solutions.
Carton Council (USA): The Carton Council is an industry organisation committed to grow carton recycling in the US. By promoting both recycling technology and local collection programmes, as well as growing awareness that cartons are recyclable, the association works to reduce cartons going to waste.
Carton Recycling Professional Committee (China): The Professional Committee was formed in May 2018 following China’s Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) issued in January 2017, which stipulates targets for the implementation of EPR for carton packaging. Affiliated to China’s Resource Recycling Association, the Professional Committee aims to facilitate the joint efforts of industry stakeholders to deliver the target set by the government and therefore improve the management of used beverage cartons in China.
Action Alliance for Recycling Beverage Cartons (AARC) (India): This initiative exists to strengthen the recycling value chain in India, increasing recycling of used beverage cartons from 30 percent today to 60 percent by 2025. Chaired by Kandarp Singh, Managing Director, Tetra Pak, the AARC’s 10 industry leaders represent the juice, dairy, pharma, liquor and packaging industries who will pool resources and collaborate with waste pickers, scrap dealers, waste management companies, recyclers and NGOs.
"This is the first time ever that an initiative of this nature and scale has been launched. It is a strong platform that brings the industry together with one common mission – of radically transforming the recycling landscape and positively impacting millions engaged in the waste trade."
Kandarp Singh, Managing Director, Tetra Pak, and Chairman of AARC.