Tetra Paks are everywhere with two billion used every year in the UK, and yet they seem to be the ‘forgotton rubbish’. Recycling collections differ across the UK with some local authorities offering a much greater range of services than others. Tetra Pak recycling, however, is severely lacking on a nationwide basis, with only a few areas offering collection services. Other areas offer recycling banks, but many more provide no recycling facilities for these cartons whatsoever.
Statistics indicate that only 4% of the two billion Tetra Paks used each year in the UK are currently being recycled. So why is this? Councils are improving their recycling facilities for many products, so why not Tetra Paks? Well, there are seemingly a few reasons. Firstly, the government recycling targets are weight-based, which means that waste such as paper and glass go much further than light-weight cartons towards meeting these. In addition, there is concern from some councils about the fact that Tetra Pak recycling takes place abroad, thus providing more environmental concerns with regards to the transportation of the waste.
Tetra Pak are currently encouraging councils to offer more recycling facilities and have also been working with Tesco to provide recycling banks at some of their stores. Tetra Pak also offer advice and assistance to councils, who should be taking advantage of this. Recycling facilities within the UK would undoubtedly also make a difference, and perhaps the government needs to consider the wisdom of weight-based recycling targets.
The advantages of recycling Tetra Paks are clear. Firstly, the waste will then not be heading for a landfill site but for a recycling facility. And secondly, the recycled cartons can be used to make paper-based products and items such as garden furniture and playground equipment, reducing the need for virgin materials.