When it comes to recycling, beverage cartons, for example those used for fruit juice or milk, currently pose an infrastructural challenge as they have to be split into three materials: paper, plastic and aluminium. The planned new facility will have the capability to quickly split and sort the components of the drinks cartons so the materials can be used to create new products. Single-use coffee cups, which also have multi-layered materials, are also included in the scope of the plan.
Over half of the beverage cartons used in the Netherlands are incinerated or disposed of in general waste channels, with the remainder being exported to other countries for recycling. A new domestic facility would therefore be an enormous benefit from both an environmental and logistics perspective.
Smurfit Kappa brings long-term expertise in paper-recycling installations to the project which has been awarded a European LIFE grant. HVC brings sustainable waste collection experience to the project while Bluemats will handle and separate the plastics and aluminium.
Henk Hoevers, VP of Paper Technology at Smurfit Kappa, said, “We are excited about being involved in a project that has the potential to solve a big challenge and potentially push the high recycling rate of paper even further than the current 85%. Together, our three companies plan a state-of-the-art installation that can deal with this specific multi-material reject stream. Using all three separated streams of paper, plastic and aluminium for further recycling is interesting. This plan is very much in line with the circularity that embeds all our operations and aligns with our ‘Better Planet Packaging’ initiative which seeks to reduce packaging waste.”
Dennis Froeling, Business Developer with HVC, added, “At this time, multi-layered cartons are being recycled elsewhere in Europe, mainly in Germany. We would like to ensure that the multi-layered cartons that come from our sorting centre in Heerenveen and from SUEZ in Rotterdam are being recycled in the Netherlands. By doing this we are connecting the entire chain from collection, to transport through to the sorting and processing of raw materials.”
Plans for the new facility will be further developed ahead of a final decision in the next six months.