Tetra Pak has joined forces with French resource management company Veolia in a game-changing partnership that targets recycling all components of used beverage cartons collected within the European Union by 2025.
The average beverage carton comprises around 75% paperboard, 20% plastic and 5% aluminium foil. The partnership with Veolia will specifically focus on the recovered polymer and aluminium (PolyAl) mix from the post-consumer cartons, as the recovered fibres already have a healthy market when converted into high-quality paper pulp.
The partnership will tap into the resource management expertise of Veolia, and Tetra Pak's packaging material expertise, to enable full recycling of the beverage cartons.
Within the scope of the new partnership, the extracted PolyAl will be processed at dedicated facilities and converted into raw materials for applications within the plastic industry.
“We will develop an environmentally and economically sustainable solution to recycling PolyAl, first in the EU, and then Asia, to improve collection, technology and processes,” explained Laurent Auguste, senior EVP development, innovation & markets, Veolia.
According to Tetra Pak, the process could double the overall value of the used beverage containers, although achieving the economies of scale and turning PolyAl into high value secondary materials remains a challenge.