The first commercial UK plant for recycling beverage cartons has been opened in Fife, Scotland.

The recycling plant, operated by the Smith Anderson Group and the Liquid Food Carton Manufacturers Association (LFCMA), will be fully operational by August and will have the capacity to recycle 20% of all the liquid food and drink cartons in the UK.

The LFCMA will be working with Smith Anderson to develop collection schemes with local authorities and schools, but director Jenny Francis said it needed a dedicated recycling plant for cartons before that could begin.

Cartons have a wood content of between 75% and 90% and have been recycled in Europe since 1992 so their high quality fibres can be reclaimed and used in a wide variety of paper products.

Mike Ansell, chairman of the LFCMA and md of Tetra Pak, said: “In environmental terms it adds the bonus of recycling to the existing sustainable benefits of the carton, the only drinks package in the UK market made principally from a renewable resource, wood.”