Consumers and businesses throughout the UK now have an easy and low-cost way to recycle their wine corks and long-life food and drink cartons, thanks to a new RecycleBox service from leading recycling company, First Mile.

And the news comes just in time for the festive period, where our nation is expected to consume a whopping 40 million bottles of champagne and sparkling wine on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve alone, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

Although wine, champagne and sparkling wine corks are 100% natural and biodegradable, the fact that the material is tightly-packed and naturally impermeable means that they will not easily break down in landfill or home composting.

The corks recycling service by First Mile through RecycleBox allows them to be either re-used as new corks or granulated and re-manufactured into new products, such as cork tiles and cork flooring or cork products.


Long-life food and drink cartons – such as those commonly used to package liquids such as UHT milk, plant-based milks, chilled soups and fruit juice – are made from paper, plastic and aluminium which are layered together. Although on-pack messaging often claims these packaging types are widely recycled, the reality is that few processors are set up to actually recycle them due to the complex make-up of the materials. All three materials can be recycled, the challenge is separating them, meaning that many simply go to general waste resulting in either landfill or incineration.

In contrast, First Mile’s new drink cartons recycling service will see these materials sent to the UK’s only dedicated beverage carton recycling facility. There, the three layers are separated to make coreboard, the material often used in packaging for foods such as gravy and hot chocolate tubs.

First Mile is also trialling carton recycling as a kerbside service for businesses, with some of its key deli and coffee shop customers who are looking to maximise sustainability, recycling and waste reduction as we head into the New Year.

Founder and CEO of First Mile, Bruce Bratley, concludes: “We’re really excited by the new addition of corks and cartons to our suite of RecycleBox material streams. It’s the perfect opportunity to raise a guilt-free toast to our planet and make new commitments to be more sustainable in 2020, as RecycleBox continues to make it easier for everyone to maximise their recycling efforts.”