2011 saw the UK achieve the single biggest annual increase in recycling rates for aluminium packaging and drinks cans since records began, the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro), confirmed today (Monday 18 June).
Figures released by Defra show that the recycling rate for all aluminium packaging has increased significantly – by more than 4% – putting the overall recycling rate at 45%. Based on the industry’s own data, Alupro has also confirmed that the UK achieved a recycling rate of 60% for drinks cans in 2011 – an increase of more than 6% from 2010. This is despite continued growth in sales of drinks cans and an increase in the amount of aluminium packaging on the market.
Commenting on the news, Alupro executive director Rick Hindley said: “The confirmation that recycling rates for drinks cans as well as aluminium packaging have increased so dramatically is welcome news for the industry.
“It follows a period of significant activity and investment to boost recycling participation and capture rates for aluminium, and all metal packaging, and reflects an increasing awareness of the economic value of recycling aluminium packaging, and the contribution it can make to the viability of a recycling programme.
“Industry funded programmes such as Every Can Counts, Aerofoil and most recently MetalMatters, have not only increased capture rates for drinks cans away from the home and kerbside recycling rates for other metal packaging, they are also delivering a real shift in consumer behaviour leading to increased capture rates for all materials.”
At a time when local authority budgets have been substantially reduced, the Aerofoil campaign helped many local authorities to expand their kerbside collections, at little or no additional cost: in total, 98 local authorities covering 5.8 million households expanded their collection systems to include foil, aerosols or both materials.
Developed and funded by the metal packaging industry, reprocessors and fillers, the MetalMatters programme builds upon the success of Aerofoil.
MetalMatters helps local authorities and their waste collection partners to promote household metal packaging recycling. Supported by WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Programme), it is managed on behalf of its funding partners by Alupro.
Rick added: “Programmes like Aerofoil and now MetalMatters, have played a fundamental role in driving improvements in recycling rates. They have challenged the perception that some metal packaging is difficult to recycle, while also demonstrating the environmental and economic benefit of doing so.
“Increasingly major industry players and brand owners are seeing how Alupro membership, and support for these industry-backed programmes, can help them to ensure that more valuable aluminium and metal packaging is recycled while demonstrating the benefits to customers and end users.
“Meanwhile, it is vital that local authorities continue to communicate with households and promote their recycling services. Regular, clear communication is essential to reinforce awareness. This will not only increase participation and capture rates, but will bring about long-term behavioural change.
“This is an area that the metal packaging industry is already actively engaged in, and will continue to focus on.”
Notes to Editors:
Further information about aluminium recycling is available at: www.alupro.org.uk
The Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) is a not-for-profit company which represents the leading metal packaging producers and reprocessors in the UK. It works with government on key recycling and packaging policy issues and is also responsible for managing the MetalMatters, Aerofoil and Every Can Counts recycling campaigns. Full details on Alupro members can be found on www.alupro.org.uk/members