With a joint investment of approximately EUR 29 million by Stora Enso and Tetra Pak, a new recycling line for post-consumer beverage cartons is starting operations in Poland.
Stora Enso invested approximately EUR 17 million into a new repulping line to recover the carton fibres. Tetra Pak and Plastigram invested approximately EUR 12 million to build the new line.
The line could triple the country's annual recycling capacity of beverage cartons, from 25,000 to 75,000 tonnes. It provides scope to absorb the entire volume of beverage cartons sold in Poland and additional volumes from neighbouring countries, including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.
Featuring an annual capacity of 50,000 tonnes, the state-of-the-art line at Stora Enso's production unit in Ostrołęka (Poland) handles solely beverage carton material separation, detaching fibres from polymers and aluminium.
The fibres are then recycled into carton board materials, effectively contributing to material circularity by turning used paper-based packaging into new paper-based packaging materials. Czech company Plastigram Industries complement this new paper recycling facility, which, together with Tetra Pak, is industrialising a solution to recycle polyAl1 into new products.
"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," said Lars Holmquist, EVP of sustainability and communications at Tetra Pak.
In 2022, Tetra Pak contributed nearly EUR 30 million to collection and recycling projects worldwide, with plans to go further and invest up to EUR 40 million annually over the following years. As part of the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE), Tetra Pak supports the industry's ambition to increase the collection the recycling rate of beverage cartons to 90 percent, with a recycling rate of 70 percent, in the European Union, 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, like paper fibres, in the loop."
Hannu Kasurinen, EVP of Packaging Materials at Stora Enso, said that the company was pleased to see the results of its cooperation with Tetra Pak, who, like Stora Enso, have the development of sustainable solutions at the core of its business philosophy.
She continued that this modern solution marked a significant addition to European recycling capacity and a concrete step forward in the circularity of consumer packaging.
In addition to complementing the current scope of Stora Enso's production site in Poland, the recycling facility will significantly contribute towards the recycling and waste reduction goals of the European Union's proposal for a Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation.
The new line is set to ramp up the recycling of beverage cartons throughout Central and Eastern Europe, signalling the beverage carton industry's willingness to support the circularity goals of the proposed European Union's Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) while also showcasing the pivotal role of recycling in helping the green transition of the food packaging sector.
The packaging industry has already invested approximately EUR 200 million to increase the capacity for beverage carton recycling in the European Union and plans to invest a further EUR 120 million by 2027.