New figures released by Alupro show 96% of councils in the UK are collecting aerosols and 86% are collecting aluminium foil for recycling.
Over the past three years, the number of councils collecting aerosols has increased from 87% to 96%, providing almost complete coverage throughout the UK. Meanwhile, foil recycling has also seen a dramatic increase in collection, from just 35% of councils in 2007 to 86% today.
“Alupro provides local authorities with free materials to explain how to recycle empty aerosols, household foil and foil containers. We have also worked with councils and their service providers to dispel some of the myths about these materials being ‘difficult’ to recycle,” says Rick Hindley, Executive Director of Alupro. “We’re delighted to see how well councils have responded to this clear messaging, which has enabled more aluminium packaging to be recycled than ever before.”
“The latest Alupro statistics on kerbside collections indicate foil is now also eligible for Widely Recycled status,” said Jane Bevis, Chair of the On-Pack Recycling Label, OPRL. “We look forward to WRAP confirmation of this in our 2016 guidelines update, since we know seven in 10 consumers act on this clear recyclability advice when they see it. 500 brands use our labels across hundreds of thousands of products, so that can make a real difference.”
Foil currently has ‘Widely Recycled at Recycling Points: Check Locally for Kerbside’ status under the On-Pack Recycling Label scheme. Once 75% of local authorities collect a material at the kerbside, this message changes to the simpler ‘Widely Recycled’ that consumers find so much easier to act on.
“Councils collecting aerosols and foil at the kerbside are sending a strong message to residents about how easy it is to recycle many materials from all around the home,” continues Rick Hindley. “Alupro has been instrumental in improving the coverage of these aerosol and foil collections, initially through its Aerofoil campaign and more recently the MetalMatters programme, which continues to make an impact up and down the country.”
Rick Hindley adds: “Alupro’s work has proven time and again that regular, clear communication from local authorities on the importance and benefits of recycling is essential. It not only increases participation and capture rates, but contributes towards long-term positive behaviour change.”
MetalMatters is a proven and cost-effective approach for councils to communicate with residents about recycling their metal packaging. Alupro partners with local authorities and their waste contractors to deliver the MetalMatters programme, which has now reached half a million households in more than 50 council areas.
“The return on investment for participating councils is one of the key benefits to joining the MetalMatters programme and we are pleased to see interest remaining high. The recycling of aerosols and foil helps capture as much metal packaging as possible from the household waste stream, boosting income for councils whilst helping to keep valuable materials in the loop.”
The average household uses 27 aerosols, 280 foil containers and 144 metres of aluminium foil a year.
Empty aerosols and foil can be recycled in the home along with metal packaging from food and drink cans.
Aerosols must be empty before they’re put in the recycling, but it’s important to never attempt to pierce or squash them. Any aerosols that still contain product should be recycled at local authority household recycling centres.
Foil needs to have any residue cleaned off before recycling, to help reduce smells and reduce contamination. Wiping or rinsing foil containers and kitchen foil in the washing up water is usually sufficient. But beware: not everything that looks like foil actually is. Some packs are actually metallised plastic film and can’t be recycled. To check just scrunch the pack or foil in your hand, if it stays scrunched it’s aluminium and can be recycled. If it springs back open then it’s film and cannot be recycled at present.