Here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody’s having fun! They are also having delicious mince pies, scrummy roast potatoes and all manner of oven-baked party treats. And guess what material is getting an above average outing during this busy, festive holiday? That’s right, aluminium. Read more
As part of Recycle Week 2016 we’re focusing on helping people understand how much aluminium packaging they use (you’d surprised how much), and how easy it is to recycle it…
Rexam and Carlsberg recently celebrated a Bronze level certification from the Cradle-to-Cradle Products Innovation Institute for cans supplied by Rexam into the UK market. Matthew Rowland Jones, European Sustainability Manager at Rexam, explains more:
The Bronze Certification marks an important step in our joint sustainability journey with Carlsberg. The certification, part of Carlsberg’s Circular Community initiative, is the first ever Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certification to be given to a beverage can. The acknowledgement was a huge feat for both Carlsberg and Rexam and marked the first success of their partnership that formed in 2013, when Rexam joined the Carlsberg Circular Community as a founding member.
The Carlsberg Circular Community uses the Cradle-to-Cradle® design framework to work with suppliers and encourage innovation and quality in the industry in pursuit of zero-waste, a key focus for Rexam. It aims to increase the creation of sustainable innovations, create clean material streams that are optimised for reuse and recycling, as well as support the sharing of knowledge between companies to create resource efficient products.
The C2C certification describes how products fit into circular economy Technical or Biological cycles. According to publications by the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation, these cycles are the basis for cost-effective circular economy material flows. C2C is also the only certification to identify up-cycling potential by ranking ingredients for those cycles.
The Rexam cans were assessed on five areas of sustainability including material health, material reutilisation, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship and social fairness; the results reinforce Rexam’s key belief in the can as a packaging format that is highly optimised for a sustainable, circular economy.
As a global beverage can maker, sustainability lies at the heart of Rexam. Earlier in 2014 Rexam developed a unique infographic with engaging illustrations, highlighting the three key stages of beverage cans within the circular economy – manufacturing, consumption and recycling, showcasing the infinite recycling potential of the beverage can and its resource efficiency credentials.
We were thrilled to be part of a collaboration that sees cans supplied by Rexam awarded the first Cradle-to-Cradle certification of its kind. There is still a way to go to encouraging consumers to recycle cans and focusing on consumer involvement in the recycling process continues to be a focus for us moving forward.
The bronze award Carlsberg and Rexam received was categorised at a level where most C2C certified products usually start, and Rexam has developed a plan to ensure continuous improvement moving forward. By working collaboratively, Rexam and Carlsberg will strive to improve recycling rates locally and help supplier communities to accelerate their material and process improvements.
The publication of the Q4 2014 recycling performance data shows that Aluminium packaging recycling in the UK increased by 3% over the year and achieved its 46% target. As the first quarter of 2015 nears its end Alupro Executive Director Rick Hindley looks at the outlook for the sector in the months ahead: Read more
The Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro), recognising the impact of the changing nature of recycling collection systems, has undertaken a detailed review of the amount of aluminium packaging present in the mixed aluminium scrap grade known as “Old Rolled”. The study concluded that there are minimal volumes of aluminium packaging present in mixed aluminium scrap and Alupro therefore welcomes the Environment Agency’s (EA) decision to withdraw the “old rolled protocol” and three* other aluminium scrap protocols from the PRN system, commencing 1 January 2015.
Alupro, which represents the UK’s leading aluminium packaging producers and reprocessors, recognises that since the protocols were first introduced nearly 20 years ago, collection systems have changed significantly. With widespread introduction of kerbside collection schemes, the once robust protocols are no longer relevant. With far more high quality aluminium packaging material recovered kerbside, and less appearing in general scrap, Alupro agrees that it is now appropriate to withdraw the protocols.
The sampling project was funded by Alupro, whose members consider the integrity of data on aluminium packaging collected for recycling to be of paramount importance. The proactive approach taken by Alupro will ensure that data accounting for the recovery of aluminium packaging material is accurate and truly reflects the efforts and activities the organisation and its members undertake to recover this valuable resource.
The new Incinerator Bottom Ash (IBA) protocol, recently acknowledged by the EA (read more) further highlights how the UK’s collection systems have evolved over the last 20 years, ensuring that aluminium packaging material recovered this way, and previously unaccounted for, will now rightly be reported as part the aluminium packaging recycling performance.
Speaking about the removal of protocols, Rick Hindley, Executive Director, Alupro, said: “Accuracy of data reporting is essential if the UK is to meet its recycling obligations and targets, so the revision of the aluminium packaging protocols will ensure that measurement of our sector’s performance is robust and reflects the current collection infrastructure. To maintain confidence in the data we have agreed with the EA that the new incinerator bottom ash protocol will be reviewed every three years. This protocol revision and review process is something we feel other materials should undertake so that the recycling sector can be confident in the accuracy of its data.”
Alupro has long called for greater accuracy in the PRN reporting system and the need for all materials to be treated equally if recycling obligations and targets are to be met – and this is why the organisation has taken steps to ensure its own figures are robust.
Rick added: “It is hoped that the work undertaken by Alupro to verify the flows of recycled aluminium packaging and the subsequent withdrawal and adoption of various protocols, will mean the reported recycling data for aluminium packaging will be the most accurate for any material.”
* The three other protocols are:
• Mixed Aluminium Alloy Cuttings
• New Pure Aluminium
• New Scrap of One Aluminium Alloy
Red Hare Brewing Company‘s craft beer packaged exclusively in cans made of Novelis’ evercan aluminium sheet, which is made of a guaranteed minimum 90 percent recycled content, is expected to be on store shelves beginning in May 2014 in key markets throughout the south eastern U.S. Read more
News from the European Aluminium Foil Association: April, 2014
A study undertaken by IFEU (The Institute for Energy and Environmental Research) to measure the relative environmental performance of two different sandwich packs – aluminium household foil and a rigid plastic lunchbox – found that aluminium foil performs very favourably in terms of environmental impact and should be considered a sustainable and convenient alternative product for packed lunches.
A recent study at the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU) in Germany, disproves the common consumer belief that a disposable product has a far greater environmental impact than a reusable solution and shows that aluminium household foil is a sustainable option that performs no worse – and in some cases even better – than the reusable plastic lunchbox. Read more
At first you wouldn’t think it appropriate for a packaging recycling organisation to exhibit at a food show, it’s more appropriate surely that these are the preserves of artisan food producers and Michelin-starred chefs? But there can be few better opportunities to showcase the versatility and recyclability of aluminium packaging to an engaged audience than the annual BBC Good Food Show, so that’s where the Alupro team spent in the last weekend of November.
The majority of aluminium packaging is found in the kitchen – as cans, dairy lidding, foil wrappers and food trays and even the screw tops on wine bottles – so when people are thinking about eating and drinking over the festive season what better time to remind them about what and how to recycle afterwards? Read more
It’s been a busy few months for one of Alupro’s core programmes Every Can Counts, which encourages recycling of drinks cans used outside the home.
A key element of the programme is promoting facilities for recycling ‘on the go’, and with the music festival season currently in full swing Every Can Counts has been onsite at some of the summer’s biggest events encouraging music lovers to do the right thing with their empty cans. Read more
The second quarter PRN results were published by the Environment Agency in July and, at least for aluminium, look very encouraging, building further on the positive Q1 results.
For the period April – June 2013, 19,952 tonnes of aluminium packaging were collected for recycling, which means that year-to-date we are well on target to meet our 2013 obligations of 62,226 tonnes. Total aluminium collection volumes are up 21% and the “100% packaging” grade is up 38% on 2012. Read more