New beverage carton recycling hub commences operations in Poland

New beverage carton recycling hub commences operations in Poland

Sustainability

A cutting-edge recycling facility for beverage cartons has begun operations in Poland, establishing itself as one of Europe's primary recycling hubs.

This significant initiative is the result of a collaborative investment totalling around EUR 29 million from Stora Enso and Tetra Pak. Stora Enso has dedicated approximately EUR 17 million to the establishment of a state-of-the-art repulping line, which effectively recovers the valuable carton fibres. In addition, Tetra Pak, in partnership with Plastigram, has invested around EUR 12 million towards the construction of this groundbreaking facility. By tripling the annual recycling capacity of beverage cartons in the country, the new line has the potential to process up to 75,000 tonnes, absorbing the entire volume of beverage cartons sold in Poland and accommodating additional volumes from neighbouring countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania.

Located at Stora Enso's production unit in Ostrołęka, Poland, the advanced line boasts an impressive annual capacity of 50,000 tonnes. Its primary focus lies in separating beverage carton materials, efficiently extracting fibres from polymers and aluminium. These fibres are subsequently recycled into carton board materials, making a significant contribution to material circularity by transforming used paper-based packaging into fresh paper-based packaging materials. Complementing this paper recycling facility, Czech company Plastigram Industries, alongside Tetra Pak, is pioneering an innovative solution to recycle polyAl1 into new products.

Baled beverage cartons reach the repulping line credit Tetra Pak
Baled beverage cartons reach the repulping line © Tetra Pak

The inauguration of this state-of-the-art line marks a significant stride in boosting beverage carton recycling across Central and Eastern Europe. It underscores the beverage carton industry's commitment to supporting the circularity objectives outlined in the proposed EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), while exemplifying the vital role of recycling in facilitating the sustainable transformation of the food packaging sector. Already, the packaging industry has invested approximately EUR 200 million to expand beverage carton recycling capacity within the EU, with plans to invest an additional EUR 120 million by 2027.

Lars Holmquist, EVP Sustainability & Communications at Tetra Pak, said: For decades, we have been working to enhance beverage carton recycling capacity, co-investing with recyclers, technology providers and suppliers in new equipment and facilities. In 2022, Tetra Pak contributed nearly €30 million2 to collection and recycling projects worldwide, with plans to go further and invest up to €40 million annually over the next years. As part of the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE), we support the industry ambition to increase the collection for recycling rate of beverage cartons to 90% and the recycling rate to 70%, in the EU, by 2030. I am very pleased to see that our collaboration with Stora Enso translates into one of the largest recycling hubs for beverage cartons in Europe, contributing to this ambition. This is also an excellent example of how systemic and collective actions can help keep quality renewable materials in the loop - like paper fibres from recycled cartons.

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