Freshwater is becoming scarcer and its uneven distribution will increase. Therefore, the value of water as a precious resource is becoming increasingly apparent with a growing population and demand worldwide. Freshwater plays an essential role as a unique and inevitable natural resource in the beverage carton supply chain. Acknowledging this, ACE members have two objectives: to efficiently manage water resources on site and to recognize water use as a part of a comprehensive life cycle approach.
Beverage cartons, on average, are made from 75% paperboard. ACE member companies are committed to source the wood fibre from responsibly managed forests. The water use is a part of a natural forest cycle, that would occur regardless if the forest is managed and harvested or not.
Water plays a central role in the liquid paperboard (LPB) production process – the main ingredient of a beverage carton. The structure of paper depends on water, which is needed to extract and carry wood fibres through the production process, and to form the desired characteristics of the paper. Water withdrawal in LPB manufacturing is relatively large, but water consumption is low. According to the Water Exploitation Index, all ACE members' LPB mills are located in water rich areas, i.e. in Skoghall, Gävle and Frövi in Sweden and Imatra in Finland. All wastewater streams are carefully purified in a treatment plant before being released back to the natural environment.
ACE members have a long history in addressing all relevant environmental aspects in the life cycle of a beverage carton as a lever for continuous improvement. It is daily practice for ACE members to monitor water use at their paper mills, the consequent effluents and their effects on the recipient water bodies.
ACE has published a brochure, explaining water issues concerning the beverage carton industry into details.
You are welcome to take a look and download it here.