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Student Starpack Awards winner visits R&D facility

Earlier this month (4 September) as part of a money can’t buy prize for winning the Alupro-sponsored ‘replacing multi-material packaging’ category at this year’s 2023 Student Starpack Awards, student James Albosh was taken on a VIP tour of Crown’s state-of-the-art R&D facility in Wantage.

Providing a priceless opportunity to go behind the scenes at one of the UK’s leading packaging design centres, James was joined by representatives from Alupro and last year’s winner, Jake Inglis. As part of the prize, James also took home £500 to help further his studies at Nottingham Trent University

Organised by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3), Alupro’s brief for the Student Starpack Awards challenged university students to create a design to replace multi-material packaging, such as cardboard and film, and instead embracing an infinitely recyclable aluminium solution.

James’ innovative entry – Kahaan – saw him present a suite of reusable and recyclable packaging materials for prepared meals. Inspired by camping cookware, the design allows products to be stacked on top of each other, while a discrete handle makes it possible to use the packaging as a stovetop cooking vessel.

Tom Giddings, Alupro’s executive director, commented: “All of the entries submitted this year impressed the judging panel, but James’ design certainly stood out. Our brief encouraged applicants to think about the use of aluminium in innovative packaging design and Kahaan demonstrated that perfectly.

“The concept was incredibly well designed, with the unique bonus of the stove-top cooking feature demonstrating the true versatility of aluminium. We hope that the tour of Crown’s R&D facility and the £500 to progress his studies will help to inspire his career further!”

James added: “Being involved in the Student Starpack Awards was really enjoyable – the ‘replacing multi-material packaging’ project allowed me to explore the versatility of aluminium and create a design to replace multi-material packaging.

“I thoroughly enjoyed touring the Crown site and getting to grips with what a role in packaging design would really entail. I’d like to thank everyone that helped to make the day so special, as well as my tutors for their support throughout the competition.”

For more information about the awards, visit:



‘Can’ the negativity, a thought-through DRS could revolutionise recycling, says Alupro

According to insight leaked earlier this week,[1] feverish meetings between government and industry bodies have concluded that the already delayed start date for the roll-out of the UK’s deposit return scheme is looking even more like a ‘non-starter’, with 2026 now proposed as the earliest likely alternative.

However, while frustrations continue to build across the supply chain and calls for a fundamental rethink of proposals gain increasing momentum, are we unwittingly designing a system that will not, when it’s eventually implemented, be effective? Tom Giddings, executive director of Alupro, believes so.

“Developed with the ambition of further driving recycling rates, as well as reducing litter and plastic pollution, the implementation of a well-designed scheme provides a once in a generation opportunity to revolutionise the circular economy of drinks containers,” comments Tom. “This is not a throw away initiative for the short-term, it’s a major shake-up of policy, industry and recycling behaviour that will affect every part of the packaging supply chain, environmental groups and – most importantly – consumers.

“We should be welcoming new and innovative solutions that have the potential to increase recycling rates and embrace the circular packaging economy of tomorrow. After all, the considered roll-out of a well-designed deposit return scheme has a real opportunity to drive fundamental change.

“While I’m not suggesting for one minute that the long and drawn-out process we’ve seen has been good, littered as it has been with delays and change, we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Indeed, regardless of when the scheme is finally introduced, we should see it as a real positive and work hard to maximise its long-term impact.

“Some remain adamant on criticism and negativity but, throughout this continued period of discussion and collaboration regarding how best to roll-out the system, Alupro is committed to engaging with each of the governments across the UK – as well as the emergent scheme administrators – to ensure that the system embraces all the elements needed for it to be a success.

“Despite further delays, it’s really positive to see decisions being made that will deliver the best results. Continued support for a scheme including metal cans, plastic and glass bottles from both the Scottish and Welsh governments, for example, will ensure systems are implemented that consumers can really buy into.

“Rather than continuing this unnecessary war of words, let’s remember that the ultimate goal here is to increase recycling rates. Amid widespread environmental pressure, collaboration is key to navigating new policy and delivering the most tangible environmental benefits – not just for today, but for the future.”

To read the organisation’s pioneering aluminium manifesto, visit




Alupro to discuss the economic value of aluminium at this year’s UK Metals Expo

Tom Giddings, executive director of Alupro, will take to the stage for two expert panel debates at this year’s UK Metals Expo. Taking place at the NEC in Birmingham (13-14 September), the event is set to welcome hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of visitors.

Bringing together the UK’s metal supply chain, as well as representatives from the engineering and manufacturing sectors, the UK Metals Expo is set to return bigger and better following its inaugural event in 2022. Alongside a thriving exhibition, the event will host a series of keynote speakers and panel discussions focusing around five key themes: supply chains, innovation, skills, the circular economy and resources.

On the event’s second day (14 September), Giddings will discuss why metal is a critical material to ensure sustainability within the food packaging industry. Other panellists include representatives from Tata Steel UK, Envases Europe A/S and MPMA. The panel ‘Resource not waste: how metal packaging is a model material for the circular economy’ will take place in the Made in the UK theatre at midday.

Shortly afterwards (13.30), Giddings will again take to the stage, this time alongside speakers from ALFED, BACALL, Innovate UK KTN and Innoval Technology, to explore the topic ‘Unlocking the Economic Viability of Recycled Aluminium in Manufacturing’. The session will discuss growing consumer awareness around re-use and recycling, the impact of packaging recycling reforms like deposit return schemes and what this means for the wider supply chain.

Giddings commented: “In just a few short years, the UK Metals Expo has quickly become a significant event in the engineering, manufacturing and metal supply chain calendar. As part of two panel discussions, I’m fortunate enough to be exploring the industry’s latest developments and insights across a range of topics.

“With the ambition of accelerating the UK’s progress towards a 100% recycling rate for aluminium packaging, celebrating its circular benefits and promoting its widespread applications in front of the wide supply chain is hugely important. I’m looking forward to sparking debate around the opportunities and challenges facing the industry.”

To discover more and to claim your free ticket to the UK Metals Expo 2023, visit: