The Christmas season is already under way - meaning recycling centres could soon be swamped with empty bottles from festive parties.

People in Croydon have been able to recycle glass bottles and cans for some time. Now they can take juice cartons and other Tetra Pak-style containers.

They are now accepted at Purley Oaks Reuse and Recycling Centre, adding to the ways in which Croydonians can help the planet.

The cartons typically contain products such as milk, fruit juice, soups and cooking sauces and are generally made of paperboard, low-density polyethylene and occasionally aluminium foil.

Despite the mix of materials used in manufacture, they can be recycled. Large numbers of them are sent to recycling centres in other European countries. In Germany and Belgium between 65 and 70 per cent of the cartons are recycled.

The recycling process is quite a simple one. Once recycled, the cartons can be used in the production of high-strength, paper-based products such as bags and envelopes.

And the cartons are made predominantly from a renewable resource - from parts of tree cut-offs that would otherwise go to waste because they cannot be used to make timber.

The decision to collect drink cartons for recycling was announced by Councillor Phil Thomas, Croydon Council's cabinet member for streets and environmental services, at last week's council meeting in the town hall.

He said: "Beverage cartons are a part of most people's daily lives and people have been asking us to provide them with the facility to recycle these cartons, which can constitute a fair proportion of an average family's weekly waste.

"I'm glad to say Croydon is among the vanguard of London councils to offer beverage carton recycling; it's a group that, along with Croydon, comprises only Richmond, Kingston, Wandsworth, Haringey and Waltham Forest."

He added: "I'm sure that, just as they did with plastics recycling at Purley Oaks, the public will put that site's new beverage-carton bank to good use."

The move follows the announcement that £365,000 will be invested in the borough's three reuse and recycling sites which will improve access for customers and increase recycling figures.