The UK's first commercial beverage carton recycling plant, at Leslie in Fife, has been opened by environment minister Elliott Morley.

The facility is the result of a joint initiative between the Liquid Food Carton Manufacturers Association (LFCMA) and Fife-based Smith, Anderson & Company, who have conducted two years’ trials to develop the technology to recover and recycle beverage carton fibres into paper, paper bags and envelopes. Anderson & Company will operate the plant as part of its Leslie milling operations.

Meanwhile figures from The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) reveal that 30% of all beverage cartons put on the market in the EU in 2003 were recycled, representing close to 280,000 tonnes of collected post-consumer packaging used in paper mills to produce products including core board, tissue paper, toilet paper and corrugated cardboard. The sector’s total recycling and recovery rate reached 58%, while for the enlarged European Union of 25 Member States ACE reports a total rate of 53% last year.