Pilot beverage carton collection and recycling 2013: Concise technical report

E.U. Thoden Van Velzen, M.T. Brouwer, E.R.P. Keijsers, Th. Pretz, A. Feil, M. Jansen

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


This report gives a technological description of the four common collection and recycling schemes that have been tested in the Netherlands as part of the pilot beverage cartons in 2013. During this pilot the collection and recycling of beverage cartons was tested in 37 different municipalities, with various separate collection systems and 2 recovery facilities. The pilot demonstrated that it is technically possible to collect and recycle Dutch beverage cartons. The recycled pulp from all tested collection methods is relatively similar in properties. Also, the fibres are relatively strong and the microbiological load is relative high, this limits the applicability. Hence, corrugated boxes are a well-suited application for these pulps. Four different collection and recycling schemes were tested; separate collection, co-collection with plastics, co-collection with paper & board and recovery. The efficiency of most schemes is limited by the net collection yields and for some schemes also the sorting yield. The net collection yields are determined by different factors, such as the percentage of high rise buildings, the execution of the collection system (service level, communication, etc.) and the space inside the houses to store and keep beverage cartons separate until collection. The recovery recycling chains were most efficient, although one of the two chains suffered from a relative low sorting yield. Nevertheless, this sorting step can be improved. Two different co-collection chains with plastic packages were studied; the Milieuzakken and the Kunststof Hergebruik chains. The Milieuzakken-chain is already established for several years and the collection retrieves almost all the beverage cartons that are expected to be present in its collection area. However, the collected material contains also relative large amounts of residual waste, which hampers the sorting and recycling and reduces the overall efficiency. The Kunststof Hergebruik co-collection chain was set-up specially for this pilot and suffered from low collection yields and low sorting yields. Although the rural area around Deventer already reached a near complete collection of all beverage cartons, for most other collection areas more time is necessary to mature the collection system and obtain higher collection yields. For improved sorting ideally an investment is required which would make the sorting process much more efficient, since the current facility was not designed and equipped for the efficient sorting of beverage cartons. The separate collection scheme suffered from relative low net collection yields, varying from 3% to 57% with a weight-averaged mean of 20%. This collection system needs time to mature and obtain higher net collection yields. For a few municipalities (with relatively low collection yields) some adjustments to the system are necessary. Also, the co-collection scheme with paper & board in general suffered from low net collection yields. Although in the high-rise area of Etten-Leur the largest net collection yield for a high-rise area was recorded of 50%. The subsequent sorting was inefficient, due to the similarity of the materials. In the future, an ideal co-collection chain would be constructed without a sorting facility. The mixture would be integrally pulped and recycled as is now the current operation in a new facility in Nortrup (Germany).
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen UR - Food & Biobased Research
Number of pages32
ISBN (Print)9789461739797
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameReport / Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research
PublisherWageningen UR Food & Biobased Research


  • packaging materials
  • beverages
  • recycling
  • collection


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