ACE UK, the trade association for the UK’s food, drink and other liquid carton manufacturers, has launched Carton Ready, a new campaign to support the implementation of the UK Government’s Simpler Recycling reforms.
The reforms will ensure that from 31 March 2026, all English households will be able to recycle food, drink and other liquid cartons with confidence, mandating their collection alongside plastic and other dry-recyclable materials and bringing an end to the current fragmented system. This is welcome news, not just for ACE UK and its members, but for the 60% of respondents that supported the inclusion of cartons in the 2021 Consistency in Household and Business Recycling Collections in England consultation.
However, with ACE UK’s analysis of recycling infrastructure indicating that only two-thirds of English local authorities currently collect liquid cartons, the challenge remains to successfully implement these reforms before March 2026.
With the launch of its Carton Ready campaign, ACE UK is offering resources and advice to help English local authorities successfully implement the mandatory collection of liquid cartons. This includes a Carton Ready Implementation toolkit, providing step-by-step guidance for local authorities to set up and maintain effective kerbside collection services from different starting points – whether they are in the process of reviewing their waste management contracts, extending or renegotiating contracts. The toolkit also contains information on best practice from local authorities that have set up successful kerbside collection for liquid cartons.
ACE UK is currently collaborating with a number of local councils to improve liquid carton collection and recycling rates. The Carton Ready Implementation Toolkit is based upon decades of experience supporting councils successfully establish kerbside collections for cartons.
Mandy Kelly, Senior Recycling Manager, ACE UK, said, “We want the Government’s Simpler Recycling reforms to be a success, and we know that some local authorities will need help to update their existing processes to comply with the new requirements. The ACE UK team is ready to support local authorities to adapt to these changes, working with their local waste management contractors to rapidly develop their carton collection, sorting, and recycling infrastructure. That’s why we’ve launched our new Carton Ready campaign to help local authorities and waste managers successfully implement the reforms ahead of the implementation date.”