Aluminium packaging recycling rates continue to increase, shows Q2 PRN data

According to data released by the Environment Agency in August, 42,243 tonnes of aluminium packaging were collected for recycling in Q2 2021 – an increase of almost 5% compared to the same period in 2020 (40,903 tonnes).


So far in 2021, 84,090 tonnes have been collected in total (an increase of more than 7,000 tonnes compared to Jan-Jun 2020), including more than 59,000 tonnes from kerbside, bring and on-the-go systems (up 11%), as well as c.23,000 tonnes recovered from incinerator bottom ash (up 7%).


With a target of 66% and a carry-in of 8,326 tonnes, the sector is on track to once again surpass its collection goal and achieve a record-breaking recycling rate. Indeed, according to the Environment Agency data, 67% of the annual target has already been achieved.


Tom Giddings, general manager of Alupro, commented: “In 2020, the UK reached its highest ever rate for aluminium packaging recycling (68%*), including an impressive 82%** for aluminium beverage cans. With numerous national lockdowns, remote working and reduced commuting, home consumption increased significantly. This saw kerbside collection rates soar.


“It’s pleasing to see that, despite higher targets and a return to the workplace, the UK has maintained record-breaking rates. Indeed, we’re over two-thirds of the way to achieving our 2021 target at only half way through the year!


“Such impressive figures can be attributed to greater public awareness about the benefits of aluminium recycling and positive action towards improving resource efficiency. While it’s difficult to predict trends for the rest of the year, we are optimistic that collection tonnages will continue to prove positive. As such, it’s important that we celebrate these successes, while maintaining focus on our goal of achieving close to 100% aluminium recycling across the UK.”


For more information about Alupro, or its MetalMatters and Every Can Counts behavioural change programmes, visit To access the latest aluminium packaging recycling data, visit the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD).




*National Packaging Waste Data (NPWD) reports 2020 sales based on 2019 actual volumes. Rather than using 2019 production/sales volumes (as reported on NPWD) to determine the aluminium packaging recycling rate, the figure referenced in the text above (68%) uses predictive data for 2020 to provide a more accurate calculation. If 2019 production/sales volumes were used, the aluminium packaging recycling rate for 2020 would be 71%.


**The drinks can recycling rate is calculated based on sales data reported confidentially by drinks can manufacturers.

Local VIPs visit Alupro’s Redditch headquarters

Last week (3rd September), Alupro welcomed Rachel Maclean MP, member of parliament for Redditch, and Cllr Matthew Dormer, Leader of Redditch Borough Council, to its headquarters in Worcestershire. Alongside taking a tour of the facility, Ms Maclean and Mr Dormer met with the Alupro team to find out more about the organisation’s pivotal role in helping the UK to improve its aluminium packaging recycling rate.

Representing the aluminium packaging industry, Alupro works in partnership with local authorities, the waste management industry and the wider packaging sector to stimulate the UK’s collection infrastructure. As well as acting as the voice of the industry on issues of government policy and legislative development, Alupro manages information and education campaigns to encourage participation in recycling schemes.

During the visit, the team discussed the circular properties of aluminium and highlighted the positive impacts of its MetalMatters and Every Can Counts initiatives, which have helped the UK to reach its highest ever aluminium packaging recycling rate despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Tom Giddings, Alupro’s general manager, explained the organisation’s support of the Environment Bill and views on the introduction of a well-designed Deposit Return Scheme.

Commenting on the visit, Tom said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Rachel Maclean MP and Cllr Matthew Dormer to our Redditch headquarters and collectively explore some of the most important issues facing the packaging industry. With a clear interest in reducing plastic waste and tackling marine pollution, it was great to speak to Ms Maclean about the infinite recyclability of aluminium and its driving role within the circular economy.

Rachel Maclean MP, member of parliament for Redditch, added: “As an important organisation located within my constituency, I first met with the Alupro team in 2018 and was hugely impressed with the organisation’s diverse range of consumer engagement programmes and commitment to improving the UK’s aluminium packaging recycling rate.

“With several government policies set to impact the packaging industry over the coming years, it was fascinating to reconnect with Tom and the team to discuss the positive impacts that these could have and understand how legislation can act as an enabler to realising a circular economy for packaging materials.”