Q&A with Andy Doran, chairman of Alupro

In January, Andy Doran – Senior Manager, Sustainability & Recycling Development at Novelis Europe – was appointed Chairman of Alupro, the aluminium packaging recycling organisation. Here, he explains why public opinion is changing when it comes to the circular economy and why 2023 will prove a transformational year for the UK’s packaging and recycling sectors.

Q – Tell us a little more about your career to date – where did it all start, what have the highlights been and why?

Having worked in recycling and sustainability for more than 30 years, I’ve seen the industry grow, develop and thrive. I first worked in local and central government, before taking up a role with Defra. In 2006, I moved to Novelis – the world’s largest aluminium recycler – and recently celebrated my 16th anniversary with the business.

During this time, I’ve enjoyed countless highlights. From discussing legislative change with recycling ministers and opening world-leading facilities, to seeing the aluminium beverage can recycling rate surpass 80%, there’s never a dull moment! Through it all, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed continuing to play a leading role in driving Europe’s booming aluminium sector.

Q – Have you seen public perceptions dramatically change towards packaging materials during this time?

When it comes to aluminium, perceptions haven’t changed much. It remains a hugely popular material of choice for both manufacturers and consumers, renowned for its infinite recyclability and superior properties. However, what I have seen change is public perception when it comes to the importance of recycling – as well as consumer pushback when it comes to single use materials.

The sector has been impacted greatly by what many are calling the ‘Blue Planet effect’. The sheer scale of our global plastic challenge highlighted by Sir David Attenborough is redefining how people think about packaging. The aluminium sector is benefitting in result – with consumers recycling more and the supply chain prioritising infinitely recyclable aluminium above other packaging materials.

Q – What have been the major drivers for this? Government communication and legislation?

Communication and education has proven pivotal to both raising awareness of material recyclability, as well as the importance of recycling used packaging. This messaging has come from various sources across the supply chain, including the pioneering work of Alupro and its countless initiatives – Every Can Counts and MetalMatters, to name but a few.

As the UK strives to further increase recycling rates, education will prove paramount to accelerating traction and providing access to the harder to reach fractions. Communication and incentivisation remains key.

Q – Why did you decide to take up the chair position at Alupro? What does the role entail?

I’ve been a board member of Alupro since 2006 and have watched the team grow and flourish. Taking up the chair role gives me the opportunity to further share my leadership, advice, knowledge and support with the hugely talented Alupro team. It also reflects the future vision of Novelis and our strong presence in the UK.

Q – What are your key predictions for the aluminium packaging sector in 2023? Will there be hurdles for the industry to overcome as well?

It’s fair to say that most businesses have experienced a challenging time over the past few years. Hopefully, however, we’re coming to the end of the tunnel and have seen the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2023, I expect demand for aluminium packaging to remain high, consumption levels to continue and recycling rates to remain strong.

There are obviously bumps in the road to overcome regarding data and reporting, but I see 2023 as a springboard for the future. With new legislation looming, there’s a huge opportunity when it comes to aluminium packaging recycling, but well-designed systems are paramount to make it ‘stick’.

Q – What one thing would help to further increase aluminium packaging recycling rates in the UK? Is this an achievable goal?

Robust legislation has the opportunity to revolutionise aluminium packaging recycling rates. It’s essential that any change is well-designed, well-managed and effectively deployed, however, as failing to do so can deliver hugely negative effects – most notably costing a lot of money to implement but failing to deliver much value.

Q – Will we ever see aluminium packaging recycling rates reach 100% (or as close to as feasibly possible)? What would help us to achieve this?

Aluminium packaging recycling has come a long way since I started out in the sector. Personally, I believe that the UK is on a robust path when it comes to further improvement and, with better infrastructure, education and incentives, could reach the levels seen in some of the world’s most high-performing countries.

For example, with an end of life collection rate of almost 99% (2021), Brazil sets the standards in aluminium can recycling, as well as being the world’s third largest market by volume. If it’s possible in Brazil, why isn’t it possible in the UK?

Q – Can you give us an exclusive? Any incentives, initiatives or activations that Alupro will launch in 2023 that could prove game-changing for the industry?

There’s so much in the Alupro pipeline for 2023, so I don’t want to spoil any surprises. Keep an eye out, though – some of the work going on behind the scenes is set to really make a splash!



Alupro to present latest insight at European aerosols conference

Tom Giddings, executive director of Alupro, will share his thoughts on achieving higher aerosol recycling rates at the 2023 AEROBAL General Assembly meeting (24 January). Taking place at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, the event will bring together leading brands from across the industry to discuss innovation, collaboration, success and progress.

As part of his remote presentation, Giddings will discuss Alupro’s recent launch of the UK Aerosol Recycling Initiative, a programme designed to drive an uplift in aerosol recycling rates; as well as its latest insights in establishing an accurate national picture of aerosol recycling.

The cross-industry initiative brings together working group partners from across the value chain including the British Aerosol Manufacturers’ Association (BAMA), waste management specialists and aerosol manufacturers. Alongside aiming to ensure that aerosols become a central part of consumer recycling behaviour, the group aims to secure  systematic changes in waste management infrastructure to facilitate widespread aerosol recycling.

Looking forward, members intend to create a sector-led roadmap to address both consumer and government knowledge when it comes to the urgency of transitioning towards a circular economy. In addition, the group will develop new resources to increase national aerosol recycling engagement levels.

Commenting on the event, Giddings said: “With the packaging industry set to see significant changes over the coming months and years across Europe we’re looking forward to sharing our thoughts on the future of aerosol recycling and its role in furthering the circular economy.

“The event will provide us with a unique platform to discuss the UK Aerosols Initiative we launched last year, alongside the success of the initiative to date. We hope it gives AEROBAL members food for thought when it comes to implementing similar activities in other countries.”

To find out about the UK Aerosols Initiative, visit https://alupro.org.uk/industry/programmes/the-uk-aerosol-recycling-initiative/.


Notes to editors

The UK Aerosol Recycling Initiative works to increase the awareness and uptake of aerosol recycling among the public and drive increased recycling rates across the UK. The initiative brings together working group partners from across the value chain including Ball Aerosol Packaging, the British Aerosol Manufacturers’ Association (BAMA), Despray Environmental, Ecosurety, Environmental Services Association (ESA), The Materials Processing Institute, Suez Recycling and Recovery UK, Tandom Metallurgical Group Ltd, Trivium Packaging and Volcke Aerosol Connection.

Alupro Statement

Last week (20 January), the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), jointly published the official consultation response to the introduction of a deposit return scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Tom Giddings, executive director of Alupro, provided the following comment:


“On immediate reflection, it’s fair to say that the aluminium packaging sector is hugely disappointed about many of the proposals detailed within Defra’s response. The sector’s concerns around the potential of a poorly-designed DRS to lead to unintended and damaging consequences for the market for drink cans made of infinitely recyclable aluminium haven’t been eased by the announcement. For example, excluding glass bottles from the scheme in England heightens the potential for material switching away from aluminium and increases the cost of fraud, when the government’s own analysis of responses to the consultation showed that 70% of respondents supported including glass bottles in the scheme.


“As an industry, we’re always looking for new and innovative solutions to increase recycling rates and embrace the circular packaging economy of tomorrow. The considered roll-out of a well-designed deposit return scheme could – and should – have contributed to this. Unfortunately, as per the concerns outlined within our pioneering Aluminium Manifesto (March ‘22), it looks likely that hugely disruptive market change will be seen.


“As we enter a period of discussion and (hopefully) co-operation regarding how best to roll-out this system, Alupro will be engaging intensely with the governments and emergent scheme administrator(s). We want to ensure not only that any further risks can be avoided, for example by encouraging the adoption of a variable rate of deposit by size, but that the system embraces all the elements needed for it to be a success – including innovative consumer engagement (for example through a programme like Every Can Counts, which has already engaged millions around the UK to drive up drinks can recycling to 82% in 2021) to increase participation.


“We will, of course, provide further analysis in due course.”