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Recycling rates of beverage cartons in Europe continue to grow

13 billion beverage cartons recycled Europe-wide in 2008.

Recycling of the beverage carton has grown steadily in recent years, reaching 33% in the EU-27, Norway and Switzerland in 2008, when 13 billion beverage cartons (350,000 tonnes) were recycled in paper mills. Signs of the decoupling of economic growth from environmental impact are beginning to emerge. Increases in beverage carton recycling have been on average 6% a year since 1999, outstripping market growth.

The new lives assumed by the fibres from used beverage cartons are varied: cardboard boxes, cereal boxes and other packages for consumer goods, office stationery, gypsum board, textile and paper cores etc.

Recycling also plays its part in reducing green-house gas emissions generated at landfills. Besides avoiding the waste of resources, the 350,000 tonnes of beverage cartons recycled in 2008 amount to a prevention of emissions of 300,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases.

Though not subject to specific legal targets neither in the EU nor in most Member States, beverage cartons have achieved, at the manufacturers' own initiative, a combined rate for recycling and energy recovery of 65%.

Beverage Carton Recycling in Europe
(EU & Norway) 1992 - 2008 (tonnes)

Published on 07 July 2009