The polyethylene layer acts as a water-tight barrier, protecting the product from leakages.
A thin layer of aluminium foil is used to protect long-life products against light, aromas and oxygen, which means the contents of the beverage carton can last for months without preservatives or refrigeration.
It is due to this resource-efficient combination that paperboard can be used as the main material.
Read more about the design of the beverage carton.
The paperboard in all beverage cartons produced by ACE members is traceable to acceptable and legal sources of wood, as guaranteed by the industry's voluntary commitment.
Read more about how ACE members ensure the traceability of the paperboard used in their beverage cartons.
ACE members also insist upon forestry standards that promote a balance between industrial use, biodiversity and recreation – a benefit for local communities living off the forest.
By promoting energy efficiency in the paperboard mills and beverage cartons production plants the industry seeks further to reduce its impact on the environment.
Once the carton has been used, the life of the original materials is lengthened by recycling them into new products such as newspaper, cereal & egg boxes and other packages for consumer goods, office stationery, gypsum board and textiles. This helps expand the use of fibres and optimises the use of the forests as a renewable resource.
This is independently verified according to 'chain-of-custody' standards set by the FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) and/or the PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes).
Worldwide, the three beverage carton manufacturers have made a voluntary commitment to achieve 100% chain of custody independent certification by 2015 at the latest and 100% certification of their own packaging material manufacturing plants by 2018.
For example, areas in and around the forest streams, where moss grows on the rocks, have particularly high value as natural habitats. To avoid disturbance the foresters typically build bridges for harvesting machines to cross, thereby avoiding displacement of fluvial silt and mud or other issues.
On and near the banks of streams are swamp forests with broad-leaved trees which must not be harvested. In these habitat-sensitive edge zones, the harvesting team must also leave groups of trees, dead wood and tall stumps to provide perches for birds of prey and habitats for woodpeckers and beetles, among other benefits.
Read more about the protection of biodiversity.
Yes. All of the material contained in beverage cartons is recyclable. Typically beverage cartons are collected from consumers and sent to sorting centres where they are put into large bales and sold to recycling mills.
Recycling mills process beverage cartons, by separating their paper fibres from polymers and aluminium using a water-based technique known as repulping. The virgin fibres used in beverage cartons are especially selected to give maximum strength and stiffness with the lowest possible weight. Once re-pulped, these fibres provide a valuable raw material for new paper and board products.
The new lives assumed by the fibres from used beverage cartons are varied: cardboard boxes, cereal & egg boxes and other packages for consumer goods, office stationery, gypsum board and textiles amongst others.
Recycling of the beverage carton has grown steadily in recent years, reaching 39% in the EU-27, Norway and Switzerland in 2012, when more than 381,000 tonnes of beverage cartons were recycled in paper mills.
Though not subject to specific legal targets in the EU or in most Member States, beverage cartons have achieved, at the manufacturers’ own initiative, a rate for recycling and energy recovery of 70%.