Many beverage cartons are recyclable. They are made from paper and lined with either plastic or for longer-life products, aluminium. The collection process for cartons varies between areas. Some councils collect cartons for recycling as part of the recycling collection service; however cartons are more usually collected at recycling centres.
At present, cartons sent for recycling within the UK are transported to Sweden. The cartons are shredded, mixed with warm water and pulped for approximately thirty minutes in a large machine, similar to a top loader washing machine. Flotation techniques are used to separate the paper fibres from the plastic and aluminium lining. The recovered paper fibres are rolled flat and are usually used as the paperboard component of plasterboard. At the moment, the recovered aluminium and plastic is separated out to be used for energy to power the mill, but the carton industry is currently working on other things that these materials can be recycled into.
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