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Aluminium Can Recycling Could Reach 85% by 2020

Aluminium Can Recycling Could Reach 85% by 2020

Aluminium Can Recycling Could Reach 85% by 2020

A report commissioned by Alupro, the not-for-profit organisation that represents the UK’s aluminium packaging industry has shown that it is very likely that 85% of aluminium cans will be recycled by 2020.

The report comes after the National Audit Office released their report stating that packaging recycling rates could be exaggerated due to problems with monitoring exactly where recycling is going.

Alupro’s report, ‘Achieving an 85 per cent recycling rate within two years’, calls for measures to be taken to improve the aluminium recycling industry, including more consistent kerbside collections and reform of the packaging producer responsibility system.

The report is not all doom and gloom though; it talks about how there is enough capacity in Europe to recycle the UK’s aluminium packaging waste (92% of the waste goes to Europe currently.) It also describes aluminium recycling as making environmental and commercial sense, as aluminium can be recycled indefinitely with no effects on quality or its properties. In fact, the International Aluminium Institute said that 75% of the aluminium that has ever been produced is still in circulation somehow.

Aluminium Can

Aluminium recycling rates are good, but there’s more to do. Alupro’s report shows that the recycling rate for aluminium drinks cans is increasing each year, and reached 72% in 2017, while the national recycling rate for all types of aluminium packaging is 51%. The organisation says that to increase recycling rates even more, there needs to be:

  • Investment in communications about recycling so that the public understands it and why they should do it.
  • Consistent kerbside collections so that aluminium packaging such as aerosols, cans and foil is collected.
  • Investment in ‘on-the-go infrastructure’ that encourages recycling and reduces littering
  • Investment in the development of separation technology so that the quality of the recyclable material is improved and can be used to make new packaging.
  • Reform of the packaging producer responsibility system

Around 94,000 tonnes of aluminium packaging was recycled last year, which generated an income of around £75 million for councils and waste processing companies. Aluminium makes up less than 1% of household waste but it contributes about 25% of the income local authorities and waste companies get from the sale of recyclable materials.

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