According to data released by the Environment Agency earlier this week (22 July), a record 40,653 tonnes of aluminium packaging were collected for recycling in Q2 2020. This indicates that 76,933 tonnes were collected for recycling in the first half of the year – a significant increase of 52% compared to the same period in 2019 (50,744).
Aluminium packaging collected through kerbside, bring and on-the-go systems increased by 37% during the first half of the year (53,312 in 2020, compared to 38,882 in 2019), while tonnage recovered from incinerator bottom ash (IBA) nearly doubled (23,621 in 2020, compared to 11,862 in 2019).
Rick Hindley, executive director at Alupro, commented: “The UK’s PRN data for Q2 2020 shows a hugely impressive year-on-year increase in the volume of aluminium packaging collected for recycling. Alongside greater public awareness about the benefits of recycling, figures should be attributed to the COVID-19 lockdown and the resulting increase in household recycling volumes.
“Perhaps the most surprising statistic was the hike in aluminium packaging recovered from IBA, which rose by an astonishing 99% compared to the same period in 2019. This, to some extent, can be accounted to an increase in the number of IBA processors accredited for reprocessing, as well as an increasing number of energy from waste (EfW) facilities coming on-stream nationwide. However, we are currently awaiting further verification of this data.
“With PRNs already raised for more than 76,000 tonnes of aluminium packaging in 2020, the future looks bright. While nothing is certain in this current climate, we are optimistic that, providing local authority collections continue to operate as normal, recycling rates will continue to rise and we will once again surpass annual targets.
“In fact, with 68% of this year’s obligation already achieved, it could be possible to realise recycling rates close to 80% for all aluminium packaging and 90% for aluminium beverage cans! Of course, this relies heavily on sustaining current rates throughout the rest of the year, PRN values remaining stable and no future disruptions to local authority collections.”
Alupro, the aluminium packaging recycling organisation, has announced the appointment of Tom Giddings as sustainability and public affairs manager. Joining the business from international packaging provider DS Smith, Giddings has significant experience within the packaging and recycling industries.
In his new role, Giddings will work closely with Alupro’s executive director, Rick Hindley, to lead the not-for-profit organisation’s government engagement programme. He will also be responsible for providing technical advice across a range of sustainability challenges, alongside consulting with members and partners throughout the aluminium value chain on new recycling initiatives.
Rick Hindley, executive director at Alupro, commented: “At Alupro, we are working to fulfil the industry’s obligation to meet, and exceed, recycling targets for aluminium packaging. In partnership with local authorities, the waste management industry and the wider metal packaging sector, we aim to develop and stimulate the UK’s collection infrastructure.
“With experience in government policy and legislative development, Tom is the perfect addition to our team. He will play a crucial part of representing Alupro and the wider industry, and work to further develop our programmes which support local authorities, such as MetalMatters.”
Commenting on his appointment, Giddings added: “It’s a privilege to join the Alupro team at such a pivotal time for the aluminium packaging recycling industry. The circular economy plays a driving role in the packaging materials of tomorrow and, with enviable properties and infinite recyclability, aluminium will be at the forefront. For years, the industry has been focused on finding a sustainable alternative to plastic. However, the solution has been there all along. This is a huge opportunity to drive a real, national change.”
As the latest data shows that the UK Lockdown has driven a spike in aluminium packaging recycling rates, this week, Alupro’s Executive Director, Rick Hindley, speaks to Nadine Bloxsome Editor of Aluminium International Today about the drivers behind the increase and his thoughts on what a fixed fee Deposit Return Scheme would mean and should look like in the UK.