Alupro reports record year for aluminium packaging recycling

According to annual data published by the Environment Agency,* the UK’s aluminium packaging recycling rate was a record 68% in 2021, with more than 156,000 tonnes collected for recycling (a 3% rise year-on-year). More than four in five beverage cans were recycled last year (82%) – matching the previous record set in 2020.

Despite a growing domestic market, aluminium packaging collected through kerbside, bring and on-the-go systems increased by 5% (112,210), while tonnage recovered from incinerator bottom ash grew by 2% (41,941). More than 88% of this total volume was recycled within the UK and EU, with just 12% being exported for reprocessing further afield.

Tom Giddings, executive director at Alupro, commented: “It’s pleasing news indeed to report yet another record-breaking year for aluminium packaging recycling. While the total UK market size grew, recycling rates kept pace. More importantly still, the vast majority of material was collected through kerbside, bring and on-the-go systems, which maximised the potential for closed-loop recycling.

“In 2020, recycling rates shot up across the board, driven in the main by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting national lockdowns and mandatory working from home guidance. Many suggested that 2021 would see a natural drop in rates, due to gradually easing restrictions, so it’s positive to see that consumers continued to recycle their aluminium packaging in 2021 and maintained their good habits.

“Looking forward to the first quarter of 2022, we hope to see record rates continuing, reflecting the positive trends of 2021. With higher, more ambitious national targets, we’re pleased to be moving ever-closer towards a 100% recycling rate for aluminium packaging.

“As we do so, communication will prove ever-more pivotal in maintaining consumer engagement and maximising positive recycling behaviours. This is a key point included within our Aluminium Manifesto, which was released in March and calls for fundamental change in the UK’s approach to packaging and waste management.”

Chris Latham-Warde of Every Can Counts, Alupro’s communications programme aimed at driving drink can recycling, added: “A record-breaking recycling rate reflects ever-increasing public awareness about environmental issues and the widespread benefits of recycling. Over the past 12 months, Every Can Counts and also MetalMatters have continued to engage consumers throughout the UK and Ireland to make real inroads towards improving recycling rates at home and when on the go.

“With a full schedule of events and activity planned with partners this year, we expect the figures to be even more impressive in 2022.”

To access the latest aluminium packaging recycling data, visit the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD).



*2021 aluminium packaging recycling data sourced from the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD).

Alupro appoints sustainability and public affairs manager

Alupro has announced the appointment of Martin Hyde as sustainability and public affairs manager. Joining the company from producer compliance scheme Comply Direct Ltd, Hyde has significant experience in sustainability, legislation and environmental policy.

During his six-year tenure at Comply Direct, he was responsible for delivering consultancy on packaging, waste electricals, recycling, batteries, carbon, ESG and net-zero to a diverse member portfolio. An expert in the circular economy, Hyde has an intricate understanding of policy changes such as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) and the UK Plastic Tax.

In his new role, Hyde will work closely with executive director Tom Giddings to lead Alupro’s government engagement programme. He will also be responsible for providing technical advice across a breadth of sustainability challenges, alongside consulting with members and partners throughout the aluminium value chain on new recycling initiatives.

Commenting on his appointment, Hyde said: “I’m excited to join the Alupro team at such an important time for the aluminium packaging recycling industry. With responses to the government’s EPR consultation published in March, and feedback on the recent deposit return scheme (DRS) and consistency in household and business recycling collections consultations expected over the coming months, 2022 will be a year of change and progress.

“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. In my new role, I’m looking forward to promoting the role of aluminium in the UK’s transition to a circular economy, as well as providing consultancy to members across the UK.”

Tom Giddings, executive director at Alupro, added: “At Alupro, our goal is to fulfil the industry’s obligation to meet, and exceed, recycling targets for aluminium packaging. Working 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 extensive experience in packaging sustainability, compliance and legislation, Martin is a welcome addition to the team. His new role will see him represent Alupro and the wider industry at crucial time for aluminium packaging recycling.”


Scanmetals joins Alupro

Alupro, the aluminium packaging recycling organisation, is delighted to welcome Scanmetals as its latest member. Headquartered in the UK, but with operations across Scandinavia and Germany, the company specialises in recovering non-ferrous metals from incinerator bottom ash generated by Energy-from-Waste (EfW) facilities.

After residual waste has been recovered to generate electricity and heat, the Scanmetals process sees residual incinerator bottom ash (IBA) sorted via state-of-the-art mechanical and sensor-based technology to remove dust and aggregate. Individual fractions of valuable metals are removed and sold to smelters, refineries, ingot makers and foundries across the globe.

Unlike more traditional IBA sortation solutions, the Scanmetals process is completely dry, harnessing the latest innovations in eddy-current, induction and X-ray sorting applications. This avoids the use of large volumes of water and chemicals, while minimising oxidisation of the metals recovered – significantly improving output quality.

Andrew King, Managing Director at Scanmetals, commented: “With more than 11 million tonnes of residual household and municipal waste treated in EfW facilities in the UK alone every year,* we believe that capturing metals released during energy recovery is an important circular process. By sorting the IBA, we capture more than 39,000 tonnes of ferrous metal per annum, including 26,000 tonnes of aluminium – 85% of which originates from aluminium packaging.

“Thanks to our unique process, we play an instrumental role in diverting valuable resources away from landfill. What’s more, as metal recovered from IBA achieves significant energy savings when compared to primary production, we can help companies across the world to lower their carbon footprint and prioritise the use of recycled materials.

“Joining Alupro provides a unique platform to engage with our customers and suppliers, as well as consumers, to further promote the benefits of IBA recovery and its importance in UK recycling rates.”

Tom Giddings, Executive Director of Alupro, added: “We’re delighted to announce Scanmetals as the first IBA recovery specialist to join Alupro. It demonstrates the company’s commitment to engaging with new audiences, as well as communicating the important role of IBA in the circular economy of tomorrow to consumers.

“We look forward to exploring the ways in which we can work together and make a real difference to the aluminium packaging recycling industry.”

For more information about Scanmetals please visit .