October’s Recycling Challenge: Recycle More Metal

Welcome to the start of our new series where we want to set you a recycling challenge each month. Recycling does take some effort on your part, but every little helps. This month, the challenge is to recycle your metal packaging, just like the residents of Cheshire.

Cheshire is one place where the council are determined to spread the message that metal matters. More than 190 million cans, foil trays and aerosols are used each year across Cheshire and the local council has launched a campaign to encourage people to put them into the recycling. The Cheshire West and Chester Council is working with the metal packaging industry to launch the ‘Metals Matter’ campaign to 160,000 households in the area.

Residents will get leaflets, and there will be plenty of advertising, roadshows, and a radio campaign. The message will be loud and clear; residents can and should recycle all of the metal packaging they use at home including drinks cans, foil trays, aerosols, and tin foil. This is something you can easily do at home.

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Metal does matter

If all of the metal packaging in Cheshire was recycled, it would reduce carbon emissions so much it would be the equivalent of taking over 1000 cars off the road. What’s more, making new products from recycled metal is far better for the environment than making new products from scratch.

Residents are being encouraged to think about the metal packaging they might have in their bathrooms too, like aerosol cans. Every can that is recycled saves enough energy to power a TV for up to 4 hours so it does make a difference. Just think of how much energy you could save by recycling that can of deodorant or hairspray.

A nationwide campaign

The Metal Matters campaigns have run in 81 local authorities and have reached more than 5 million households in the 5 years since they started. In Cheshire, the campaign is funded by the Metal Matters metal industry partnership and local waste firm Kier Environmental. The campaign has an excellent track record of increasing metal packaging recycling rates in other parts of the UK, and it is hoped that this can be replicated in Cheshire.

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The benefits of recycling metal

Every year, more than 10 million tonnes of metal are recycled, and the UK produces much more metal than we need, so the majority of it is exported for profit. The recycling industry therefore contributes greatly to our economy.

Reused and recycled car parts can provide consumers with a cheaper way to purchase parts of vehicles, or indeed entire vehicles, which is good for motorists and the economy.

When metal is recycled or reused, fewer raw materials are needed to make new products. It saves energy too. According to EU figures, using recycled metals lowers emissions by 200 million tonnes per year, it reduces air pollution by 86% and water pollution by 76%.