Government minister Lord de Mauley opened the UK’s only dedicated drinks carton recycling facility at Stainland.
The new plant is set to significantly boost recycling rates with a potential 1.25 billion cartons being recycled.
That’s 40 per cent of the cartons made each year for the UK food and drink market.
The heavy automated process has initially created two jobs and the fibres removed from the cartons are of a good quality and will be used in improve the quality of Sonoco products.
The plant is a joint venture between the Alliance for Beverage Cartons & The Environment (ACE) UK which represents the leading carton makers Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc, and paper and packaging producer Sonoco Alcore.
Kerbside collections of cartons are now expected to increase dramatically - previously cartons had to be exported for recycling or sent to landfill.
Calderdale Council leader Tim Swift said there are drop-off points for cartons, but when the Sita contract is up for renewal the tender was likely to include carton collections.
“It would be silly not use such as facility on our doorstep,” he said.
Lord de Mauley said: “There is a huge global market for waste and recycling and I want to see UK businesses leading the way.”
Sonoco will use the carton fibres to produce paperboard and the polymer and aluminium layers from cartons will be separated and stored for future recycling.