An unintended consequence of the proposed ban on cash transactions for scrap metal would be to make ‘cash for cans’ recycling activity illegal. Around the world “cash for cans” programmes have played, and continue to play, a key role in the aluminium recycling ’loop’, and have helped to establish the aluminium drinks can as the world’s most recycled drinks package.
In the UK we estimate around 10% of the aluminium drinks cans collected for recycling come through cash for can systems, operated by around 300 scrap metal dealers and community businesses. This equates to around 300 million cans.
Collecting aluminium drinks cans provides a valuable income stream for individuals and thousands of charities, community organisations and youth groups around the UK, with an estimated £3 million paid annually to these organisations based purely on the scrap value of the used aluminium drinks can.
Moreover, a number of social enterprises and community businesses provide “cash for can” services to their local communities. These organisations often provide training and meaningful employment for adults with learning disabilities and/or the long-term unemployed, and the margin they make on providing the “cash for can” service contributes towards the running costs of the organisations. A ban on cash transactions is likely to have a negative impact on the viability of these organisations.
Typically cash for cans transactions are small, with collectors cashing in a few sacks at a time. Most transactions are for less than £20. There is no evidence of illicit trading or public health issues as is the case with the theft of cable, lead etc.
A complete cash ban could therefore have a significant negative impact upon the volumes of cans collected, reducing the recycling rate for drinks cans, something the Government is committed to improving, and removing a valuable income stream for charities, youth groups etc across the UK.
We would urge the UK Government to consider an exemption for ‘cash for cans’ transactions under any new legislation.
For more information contact Rick Hindley, Executive Director
01527 597757 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Media enquiries: Richard Truman / Will Herman, Pelican PR