15 August 2018 by Elizabeth Slow

Cups and cartons HWRC pilot launches in Cornwall

Cornwall council and ACE UK have launched a pilot to offer collection points for cartons and paper cups at seven of Cornwall’s household waste recycling centres (HWRCs).

Residents are being urged to take their empty food and drink cartons and paper cups to the new bring banks.

As part of a pilot scheme with Cornwall county council, ACE UK is providing bring banks for cups and cartons at seven HWRCs

In Cornwall an estimated 450 tonnes of beverage cartons are put out for waste collection each year. They are currently disposed of in the residual bin and sent to energy from waste, the council explained.

Bring banks

The bring banks are being supplied by trade group The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE UK), which represents some of the leading carton manufacturers, Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc.

The service is a two-year pilot being funded by ACE UK. All cartons and paper cups collected at the recycling banks will be taken to ACE UK’s specialist facility near Halifax.

The council advises residents to “wash and squash” cartons and replace the caps before placing in the bring banks – and only paper coffee-type cups should be deposited in the banks.


Cornwall’s HWRCs handle more than 80,000 tonnes of waste each year, of which more than half is sent for recycling, explained Cornwall council portfolio holder for environment and public protection Sue James.

“People have been asking about recycling food and beverage cartons for some time, so I’m pleased ACE UK are working with us to provide this service at seven of our HWRCs,” she said. “Having bring banks based at our HWRCs will allow people to bring their cartons with them when making a trip to their local centre.

“We know from surveys that residents want to be able to recycle more. While we can’t include this as part of our current kerbside collections we are asking the bidders for the 2020 kerbside collection contract to consider collecting additional materials, such as these cartons.”

Cornwall council started the procurement process for a new 10-year waste collections contract last month (see letsrecycle.com story). The contract will begin in April 2020 following the termination of the current contract, held by Biffa.

Food and drink cartons and paper cups from the bring banks will be sent to ACE UK’s specialist facility near Halifax

Mandy Kelly, senior recycling manager, ACE UK said: “It’s great news that food and drink cartons and paper cup recycling has now come to Cornwall. From our conversations with the council we know residents are keen to recycle cartons, so we are extremely pleased to install bring banks at these seven sites – and of course all cartons and cups collected will be recycled here in the UK.”


ACE UK said it has been providing a network of bring banks for over ten years for local authorities across the UK.

According to the organisation, food and drink cartons are easily recycled “using a simple pulping process, where the paperboard and non-fibre layers are separated and turned into new materials”. The wood fibres can be used to produce new high-strength paper products, such as cores and tubes for consumer and industrial applications, while the polymer and foil layers can be used to make items such as garden furniture, children’s play mats, and construction materials, ACE UK explains.

Last year, cross-industry organisations signed a deal with ACE UK to help accelerate UK recycling of PE lined paper cups (see letsrecycle.com story). And, from 1st January 2018 all ACE UK bring banks started accepting paper cups for recycling.


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