ACE, the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment, has published a set of 'design for recycling' (DfR) guidelines, with which it is seeking to present a renewable, climate positive and circular vision for the packaging industry.
The guidelines will provide technical guidance to producers of beverage cartons, it said, enabling them to identify the packaging materials needed that are compatible with existing recycling processes, as well as exploring how the recyclability of beverage cartons can be optimised.
It added that the guidelines are complementary to the previously-published 4evergreen DfR guidelines for standard recycling processes, and will feed into forthcoming 4evergreen guidelines for enhanced processes, such as specialised recycling plants.
“Beverage cartons are recycled throughout the EU,” commented Annick Carpentier, director general of ACE. “By providing guidelines on the material composition of beverage cartons and how they should be designed for recycling, the industry continues to show its commitment to increasing the recyclability of beverage cartons.
"The Design for Recycling Guidelines are a sound basis to define the recyclability of packaging.”
ACE said that the guidelines have been developed in consultation with targeted stakeholders, including recyclers, waste management operators, and technology providers, and are based on 'expert judgement'.
As sorting and recycling technologies develop and bring innovation to the market, legal requirements are evolving in parallel, the group said, adding that it is 'committed' to annually reviewing the guidelines as they develop.
ACE members include beverage carton producers Tetra Pak, SIG Combibloc, and Elopak, while around 98% of the paperboard used by ACE members to produce beverage cartons in Europe is produced by Stora Enso in Skoghall (Sweden) and Imatra (Finland), and Billerud in Gävle and Frövi (Sweden), who are also members of ACE.
According to the group, it provides a 'European platform for beverage carton manufacturers and their paperboard suppliers to benchmark and profile beverage cartons as a safe, circular, and sustainable packaging solution with low carbon benefits'.