When it comes to the environment, cartons such as those from Tetra Pak have a great story to tell.


When it comes to the environment, cartons such as those made by Tetra Pak have a great story to tell.

Please join in and get ‘Smart on Carton Recycling’ today


Did you know: Cartons can be recycled in over 90% of local authorities across the UK.


To help everyone get ‘Smart on Carton Recycling’, this site provides a range of information, toolkits and competitions to help teachers, parents and children get involved.

Go to our prize draw page for a chance to win great prizes.


Beverage cartons are recyclable.

Why Recycle?

Why Should Cartons Be Recycled?

Carton recycling is important for many reasons. The most important reason is that planet's resources are running out and recycling is one of the key ways we can help protect these resources. By recycling as many times as possible, not only do we reduce the amount of waste that is sent to landfill, we can all help reduce our carbon footprint. Cartons are also a valuable source of raw materials, which can be used to make a whole host of new things, so join us in calling people across the country to get Smart on Carton Recycling today.

The Carton Recycling Process

Download diagram as pdf

The Process

Below is a description of how cartons fed through the UK carton recycling factory are recycled as a step by step process:

  1. Baled cartons are dropped into a pulper, similar to a giant domestic food mixer,
  2. Water is added to the pulper, and
  3. The cartons and water are mixed for around 20 minutes
  4. Mixing cartons with water breaks down the packaging to produce a grey-brown mixture of aluminum foil, paper fibre and plastic
  5. The aluminium foil and plastic are separated from the paper fibre using sieves similar to a sieve used to drain rice or sieve sand
  6. The paper fibre is recovered to make paperboard for new packaging materials such as card tubes, which can be used to make tubs for hot chocolate or gravy granules
  7. The remaining mix of plastic and aluminium can then be used in things like play mats and building materials.

The UK carton recycling factory is run by the beverage carton trade association ACE UK and the paper mill operator Sonoco Alcore. Tetra Pak is a founding member of ACE UK. Watch ACE UK’s video on carton recycling in the UK below.

Why choose cartons?

They are the smart environmental choice

Cartons are:

Renewable: they are predominantly made from paperboard which in turn is made from the natural renewable raw material – wood. Renewable resources are natural resources that, if managed properly, are replaced by natural processes at a rate comparable to, or faster than, they are used up. This is especially important as our planet’s resources are running out.

Transport Efficient: Cartons are transport efficient before and after filling. They are lightweight and space efficient, meaning fewer trucks on the road!

Low carbon: the wood used to make the paperboard in cartons is a renewable and the paperboard is produced from wood mainly using renewable energy. This helps lower the carbon footprint of your package. Cartons are repeatedly shown to be a low carbon packaging choice in life cycle studies across the world.

Recyclable: Cartons are widely recyclable across the UK & Ireland. To find your nearest carton collection point, use the interactive map on www.tetrapakrecycling.co.uk

They protect the goodness of the product inside… Cartons can help keep out harmful light and air which can degrade the valuable minerals, vitamins, taste, colour and even smell of the drinks you buy. For example, milk is a valuable source of Vitamin B2, (also known as riboflavin).

Vitamin B2 has a number of important jobs to do, from helping keep skin, eyes, the nervous system and mucous membranes healthy, to helping produce steroids and red blood cells. It may also help the body absorb iron from the food we eat.

Vitamin B2 is however sensitive to light, so it is great to know that the milk in cartons are protected from this to help keep the Vitamin B2 locked in!

Vitamin C is more sensitive to oxygen and you can clearly see how oxygen affects fruit when you cut it in half and see it start to turn brown. This is why our long life cartons are made up of special layers that help keep out the air, so the goodness inside is protected, until you need it, without the need for preservatives or refrigeration. Further information

They are easy to use; anytime, anywhere: Cartons come in a whole range of shapes and sizes, with a variety of easy to use caps, closures and straw solutions to suit your every need. Our long life cartons protect the goodness of the product without the need for preservatives or refrigeration, until they are opened, meaning that they are great when you are out and about or short of fridge space, but always need a back up.

Our rectangular school milk packs are the perfect size to ensure kids get their daily dose of dairy and all the goodness that brings, they are easy for little hands to hold and the use of straws helps minimise any mess.

Not only that, after the kids are done, the cartons are easy to squash flat, helping to save space in recycling bins.

Straws: Straws are easy to use and help children and adults drink from the carton anytime anywhere. Once the straw has been used it is important to ensure that the straw is recycled.

A carton and straw sent to the UK recycling factory would result in the straw coming out of the recycling factory with the other plastics and aluminium which can be later recycled into new things.  Leaving the straw in the carton and placing the carton and straw in the correct recycling bin is the best thing you can do to help ensure that straws are recycled. The person collecting the bin will then need to ensure that its contents is sent to the UK carton recycling factory.

For more information, visit: www.tetrapaksustainability.co.uk/