Background data point: Ireland is a net exporter of its recyclable waste. With the exception of Glass, most items deposited in the recycle bins for kerbside collection are sorted by the bin collection companies into their respective material classes and exported for processing.
Our Global Hydrate® Tetra Top® cartons (which are classed as part of the paperboard category) are fully recyclable at around 25 other location within the Europe, the closest being a plant located in Halifax, UK.
The Global Hydrate® 500ml Tetra Top®Carton:
The carton wall material is made up of a number of separate layers of material as can be seen from the diagram on the left with over 78% of the material used being made up of paperboard. The function of the additional layers is to provide a robust structure that provides a 2 way barrier to protect the carton contents.
There are significantly less plastics contained in the carton, both in the context of fossil based plastics (derived from oil) or plastics overall (including those derived from sugar cane). Additionally, in the context of full LCA (Life Cycle Analysis), a meta-analysis carried by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (Heidelberg, Germany), on behalf of WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature and ACE (Alliance of Beverage Carton & the Environment), shows the beverage carton to be one of the beverage packaging types that is least likely to have a negative effect on the environment http://www.ace.be/uploads/Modules/Publications/ifeu_meta_analysis-executive_summary.pdf
Ireland operates a 100% kerbside collection for cartons https://www.mywaste.ie/what-to-do-with-my-recycling/. They then go to a materials recycling facility (MRF) for sorting & are included with baled paper & cardboard (Paperboard) for onward recycling.
Other recyclable packaging materials, e.g. metals & plastic, are also collected and sorted at a MRF in Ireland before being exported to other markets within Europe and Asia for processing.
Paper & Cardboard, including Cartons, have very impressive recycling rates in Ireland, and, by 2018, paperboard had nearly surpassed its 2030 recycling target set by the EU. In fact all other materials can be seen to have surpassed their 2025 EU recycling targets, with the one major exception of Plastic. (see graph)
s the EPA report shows, Ireland exports about 90 -100% of materials collected and sorted at a MRF to Europe and Asia for recycling with the exception of glass which is much lower. Unfortunately Glass manufacturing is very energy intensive along with metal recycling and the CO2 emissions levels are quite high. The advantage of choosing cartons is that the recycling process is straight forward and it consumes very low energy as compared to Glass, Aluminium and Plastics during processing.
A nice description of the recycle process (breakdown of the carton into wood fibres, polymer and aluminium can be found at http://www.beveragecarton.eu/beverage-cartons/recycling/recycling-products, where each constituent element can then be repurposed to new uses.
In summary, Ireland is a net exporter of items we place in our recycle bins and evidence shows that we recycle more paperboard than plastics. Our carton is 100% recyclable and is currently made from 88% renewable sources. The sustainability credentials of the carton are a significant step forward in our fight to curb the negative impact of single use plastics on the environment and to provide the ever conscious consumer with an alternative that is both functional and environmentally responsible.