Q3 data shows impressive uplift in aluminium packaging recycling

According to recent data published on the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD) by the Environment Agency (EA), aluminium packaging recycling volumes in Q3 continued to increase – showing an impressive uplift compared to the same period in 2022.

During the three-month period (Jul-Sep), 48,135 tonnes of aluminium packaging were collected for recycling – a 21% increase year-on-year. Of this volume, 33,051 tonnes were recycled by consumers through kerbside, bring and on-the-go systems (an uplift of 15% YOY), while 12,950 were recovered from incinerator bottom ash (IBA), a 19% increase compared to Q3 2022.

To date in 2023, 137,275 tonnes of aluminium packaging have been captured across the UK, representing a 17% increase compared to the same period last year (116,439). With 92% of the obligation already achieved (147,925), this puts us firmly on track to far exceed annual targets.

Tom Giddings, executive director of Alupro, commented: “It’s positive to see that the tonnage of aluminium packaging collected for recycling across the UK is rising steadily. While some industry critics had suggested that the high rates reported during the COVID-19 pandemic were just a short-term trend, it’s reassuring to see that impressive volumes and positive consumer recycling behaviours have continued.

“It’s also good to see that PRN prices have finally started to stabilise, following ongoing fluctuations, late data submissions and no end of unnecessary complications. Moving forward, more work needs to be done to ensure that the PRN price doesn’t drive material flow, as it arguably has done in recent years. Much like the rest of the industry, we’re hoping for a calm and peaceful 2024 from a PRN perspective!

“However, we mustn’t rest on our laurels when it comes to upward trending collection volumes. It’s of vital importance that organisations such as Alupro continue to bang the drum when it comes to consumer education. Through our awareness programmes, Every Can Counts and MetalMatters, we will continue to play a driving role in reminding households about the value of best practice recycling, while working towards our ambitious goal of a 100% recycling rate for aluminium packaging.

To access the National Packaging Waste Database, visit www.npwd.environment-agency.gov.uk.


Alupro showcases programme success with inspiring annual report

Alupro, the aluminium packaging recycling organisation, has launched a new report demonstrating the national impact of its pioneering educational initiatives. The Alupro Impact Report details activity delivered during 2022, explores the outcomes of its latest campaigns and tracks progress towards its goal of achieving a 100% recycling rate for aluminium packaging.

Crucially, the report explains how the achievements of Alupro’s members contribute to two of the major sustainability challenges faced by the world today; climate change driven by carbon emissions as well as the well-established fact that globally we use too many resources. This report shows how the simple act of recycling aluminium packaging contributes significantly to tackling these issues.

Alongside providing a snapshot of the UK’s aluminium industry, the report clarifies Alupro’s vision and measures the impact of its initiatives. Indeed, detailed analysis of campaigns including Every Can Counts, Metal Matters and Foil in Love with Recycling reveals a reach of more than 26 million people across the UK.

The document also analyses the activities of the UK Aerosol Recycling Initiative, which brings together key businesses from across the aerosol supply chain to drive higher recycling rates. Activity within the past 12 months includes identifying an accurate recycling baseline and launching a pioneering roadmap to higher aerosol recycling.

Tom Giddings, executive director at Alupro, commented: “We’re delighted to have launched our first impact report to provide further insight into the work we deliver. As a member organisation, it’s important to demonstrate how we’re working to achieve our goals and the progress we’re making.

“Last year, our campaigns reached millions of households. The education programme competitions we ran received more than 1,116 entries and we inspired thousands of consumers through our events activities and our social media programmes. This is positive progress towards increasing awareness of best practice recycling and inspiring behavioural change.

“While our campaigns last year proved hugely successful, we’re not resting on our laurels. Instead, we’re working hard to build upon these foundations, improve national education when it comes to aluminium packaging recycling, fight for effective policies and continue to deliver upon our responsibility as the voice of the industry.”

To read or download Alupro’s impact report in full, visit: alupro.org.uk/impact-brief-report


Alupro to discuss aluminium packaging sustainability at local authority conference

Tom Giddings, executive director of Alupro, will share his thoughts on optimising aluminium packaging recycling at the 2023 CLAIRE Wales Group Conference. Taking place on 17 November at the International Convention Centre (ICC) Wales, the event will explore what the future of recycling looks like and the role of collaboration in accelerating progress.

Bringing together the group’s fourteen local authority members, the conference will see a number of high-profile keynote speakers take to the stage, alongside a series of Q&A networking sessions. Delegates will also include representatives from a variety of other Welsh and English bordering councils.

As part of his presentation, Giddings will explore aluminium packaging recycling systems across Wales, examining what is already working well and where further progress could be made. ‘Aluminium Packaging and Sustainability – It’s good now, how could it be great?’ will take place at 1.40pm. The Alupro team, as sponsors for the event, will also be on hand throughout the day to showcase and discuss the latest programmes.

Commenting on the event, Giddings said: “The CLAIRE Conference is a great opportunity to connect with local authorities across Wales to discuss resource efficiency. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on where Welsh councils are already leading the way, as well as exploring how we can build on strong foundations to create an even better future.

“The CLAIRE Wales Group was designed to encourage councils to work collaboratively to reach targets more efficiently, so we’re looking forward to drawing on our experiences to demonstrate the positive impact collaboration can have. It’s also great to see the event being held in Newport, last year’s top UK city for recycling – a subtle nod to championing best practice.”


Cumbria residents encouraged to recycle their metal packaging

A new campaign promoting metal packaging recycling has been introduced by Cumberland Council and Westmorland and Furness Council. In a bid to improve kerbside recycling rates, households across the region are being encouraged to recycle their metal packaging including food and drinks cans, aluminium wrapping foil and foil trays, as well as empty aerosols and metal screw tops.

Spearheaded by the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro), the ‘MetalMatters’ programme will use targeted social media messaging and bus advertising to communicate the widespread benefits of metal packaging recycling.

The six-week initiative is expected to reach more than 228,000 households across the two local authorities. Since its launch in 2012, more than 121 local authorities have adopted MetalMatters, with recycling rates improving as a result.

Councillor Denise Rollo, Cumberland Council’s Executive Member for Sustainable, Resilient and Connected Places, commented:

“Our goal is to drive recycling rates up and reduce waste by identifying environmentally responsible ways to meet the needs of our local communities. MetalMatters will allow us to engage with residents across our Cumberland area, encouraging them to think about their recycling habits and how best to dispose of their metal packaging.”

Councillor Dyan Jones, Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet Member for Customer and Waste Services, added:

“Many across Westmorland and Furness are already committed to recycling and reducing waste which is great news, but we can do more.

“This latest campaign encourages people to think about recycling more metal packaging found throughout their home, whether in the kitchen, bathroom or bedroom. Food and drink cans, foil and empty aerosols are all easily and endlessly recyclable.

“It’s worth remembering that every aluminium can you recycle saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours – so a small action like putting your empty baked beans can into your recycling container can make a big difference.”

Tom Giddings, executive director of Alupro, added: “For more than a decade, our MetalMatters programme has been educating the public about the benefits and importance of recycling metal packaging. We’re confident that the introduction of this campaign will help to drive an increase in recycling rates and households taking positive action across Cumbria.

“For us, the most important message is that metal is infinitely recyclable, meaning the quality and properties of the metal will be unchanged during the recycling process. Making a few small changes can add up to a big environmental impact.”

Funded by the metal packaging industry, MetalMatters aims to educate householders about the benefits of metal packaging and encourage them to recycle. Designed to support kerbside recycling schemes, MetalMatters can be run by any local authority, either region-wide, by collection round or even by demographic targeting.

For more information about MetalMatters, or to register your interest, visit, www.metalmatters.org.uk


Position Statement:- The Aluminium Can Production and Recycling Industry Position re: Digital Deposit Return Scheme (DDRS)

31 October 2023

Position Statement:- The Aluminium Can Production and Recycling Industry Position re: Digital Deposit Return Scheme (DDRS)

Aluminium drinks cans are a real success story for the circular economy; not only are they completely recyclable but they are widely recycled, with the industry achieving an impressive and market-leading UK recycling rate of 82%.

Our industry wants to go further, with ambitions to recycle 100% of cans by 2030. A well-designed Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), such as those of Finland or Denmark, is a key instrument to achieve this. Successful and long-running DRS’ like these, based on a ‘return-to-retail’ structure and return vending machines (RVMs), not only tackle litter and deliver ever-higher collection rates for cans but also typically guarantee higher quality feedstock to the recycling process. Cans contaminated with plastic and other undesirable materials, typically sourced from UK kerbside co-mingled collection systems, need additional sorting to remove these ‘non-target’ elements. Whilst not hindering recyclability, this adds costs and waste to the recycling process which could be avoided if those cans instead were collected through a conventional DRS.

Therefore, our industry is opposed to any proposal that doesn’t guarantee lower contamination levels for recycling, doesn’t demonstrate that it can support our sustainability ambitions nor conclusively tackle litter.

On these grounds, the aluminium packaging and recycling sector does not support a Digital DRS (or DDRS), defined as an alternative DRS model where instead of all containers being taken to return points by consumers, deposits can be redeemed by the public through mobile technology by scanning unique codes (e.g. QR marks) on each container which can be recycled through existing systems (e.g kerbside collections). The studies and trials exploring DDRS’ to date have highlighted the potential theoretical benefits of such a system, but these have yet to be demonstrated not only at scale but also, more fundamentally, that the requirements placed on the packaging value chain by a DDRS are even feasible or sensible. They have proven simply that the public appear, quite understandably, supportive of recycling initiatives that they can participate in by using an app at home.

Our challenges to the concept revolve around two themes. Firstly, that a DDRS cannot be facilitated by the aluminium beverage packaging and supply chain and secondly that it is not as effective as a conventional DRS as a measure that improves packaging sustainability and recycling rates.

Feasibility and Operational Challenges Sustainability Challenges
·       The printing of unique codes on containers at rapid line production speeds is not feasible; the technology to do so is expensive and requires factories to significantly lower their throughput.


·       A DDRS does not guarantee improvements in the quality of collected drinks cans by reducing contamination, reducing cost and environmental benefits of a DRS of any kind for recyclers.
·       Over 90% of soft drinks and over 60% of beers and ciders are sold in multipacks in the UK; no trial has yet demonstrated how to manage the simultaneous activation of between 4 and 24 individual deposits at the point of sale.


·       A DDRS does not guarantee that containers which have had their deposit redeemed will actually be recycled; without the collection offered by RVMs, containers could still be littered.
·       In a traditional DRS, revenue from the sale of collected materials helps to fund the scheme. In a DDRS, material ownership is not defined as containers will still be mixed with other packaging, so a new funding model will need to be developed.


·       It is unclear if a DDRS offers significant carbon efficiency when compared to a traditional DRS. For example, will the savings from needing fewer RVMs be offset by the continued treatment of contamination seen under current recycling collection regimes?
·       DDRS is not supported by all UK nations, further jeopardizing the interoperability of a national scheme.


A 2023 report by consultants Eunomia “Serialised Deposit Return Systems: An assessment of the feasibility and desirability of container serialisation and alternative DRS return pathways in Belgium”, prepared for Recycling Netwerk Benelux, highlighted these same concerns and identified others.

For more information and for enquiries, contact info@alupro.org.uk.


Company Alupro

Company Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association

Name Tom Giddings,

Executive Director

Name Robert Fell,

Executive Director

Signature Signature
Company The Can Makers Committee

Name Tim Conybeare,






Tata Steel celebrates Recycle Week by joining the UK Aerosol Recycling Initiative

Tata Steel extends education programme to help raise awareness of recycling attributes of aerosols

October 2023 – Tata Steel, one of the world’s largest steel producers and one of the UK’s leading steel re-processors, has become the latest organisation to join the UK Aerosol Recycling Initiative and is celebrating as part of national Recycle Week, 16 – 22 October.

Steel aerosols are easily captured for recycling through existing UK recycling schemes – kerbside, magnetic extraction, and even after waste incineration. They make a valuable contribution to UK steel recycling rates, but consumers’ appreciation of their recycling credentials is low compared to other household metal containers such as food cans.

“We all use metal aerosols around the house, and they are widely used by businesses such as hairdressers and tradespeople. Yet there is a definite gap in consumers’ knowledge of the recycling potential of metal aerosol cans and separating them for recycling at home is not yet as instinctive as it is for most other forms of packaging,” explained Nicola Jones, Manager for Steel Packaging Recycling.

“Tata Steel is joining the UK Aerosol Recycling Initiative to help narrow that knowledge gap and help increase metal recycling rates still further.”

Launched by Alupro in Autumn 2022, the campaign’s key priorities are closely aligned to Tata Steel’s own recycling education activities which include encouraging and measuring recycling performance, ensuring consistency of public messaging around metal packaging recycling, and driving targeted consumer education of good home recycling practice.

Other members of the UK Aerosols Recycling Initiative include British Aerosols Manufacturers’ Association and steel packaging manufacturers, Trivium Packaging.

The project also aims to encourage metal aerosol recyclability and viability in a post- extended producer responsibility (EPR) and deposit return scheme landscape.

Tata Steel is seeing greater interest in steel for aerosols. Historically, steel aerosol cans are welded; now though, Tata Steel’s high quality steel grades and can-making knowledge have made a non-welded aerosol can possible in a variety of shapes and sizes.

The Protact® two-piece aerosol can, made by DS Containers in a combined DRD and D&I can-making process, for example, combines value and product integrity giving brands an opportunity to create a premium pack with great consumer appeal.

Weld free, and with a polymer corrosion protection, Protact offers many possibilities for high quality decoration and facilitates a lean production process for aerosol can makers. Two-piece tinplate aerosols made by a D&I process are already on the market.

Tata Steel is also seeing considerable new interest in shaped aerosols which offer exceptional consumer appeal and the company has special high elongation steels that enable the production of these.

Nicola Jones concludes:

“Our contribution to a non-welded offer, interest in steel products which offer greater shaping opportunities, plus steel’s exemplary recycling credentials, make now the perfect time to join this recycling initiative.

“Our end goal is to maximise steel collection and recycling, and the UK Aerosol Recycling Initiative will make a significant contribution to this.”

Alupro film explores the aluminium packaging recycling journey

As part of its ongoing work to raise awareness about the benefits of recycling aluminium packaging, Alupro has launched an educational video taking viewers behind the scenes of the post-consumer journey – from recycling bin through to reprocessing.

Narrated by irreverent sports commentator Nick Heath, ‘Secrets of Aluminium’ gives an entertaining insight into the circular process, while dispelling a number of common myths and profiling the UK’s thriving aluminium supply chain.

To ensure the film is shared far and wide, a supporting social media awareness campaign will be run across Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, while 3D Artist and Motion Graphic Designer, Hashmukh Kerai, has also been enlisted to create an animated interpretation of the journey.

Tom Giddings, executive director of Alupro, commented: “The aluminium packaging recycling process may be common knowledge for the supply chain, but consumers are still widely unaware of what happens to their waste once it leaves the kerbside. As a result, there’s a fair amount of misinformation and scepticism about how much packaging collected in the UK is actually recycled.

“Secrets of Aluminium aims to dispel the myths and highlight the infinite circularity of metal packaging. After all, 75% of all aluminium ever produced is still in use today – a fascinating statistic that highlights precisely why consumers should follow best practice recycling guidelines.

“But rather than a dry, dull educational film, we wanted to make it entertaining and engaging for people to watch. Recycling isn’t boring or stale, so having the quirky commentary of Nick Heath will bring a fun twist – aiming to inspire viewers, increase awareness of the process think twice about what to do with their used aluminium packaging.

To watch The Secrets of Aluminium, visit https://youtu.be/Lg5fGVlp8YY.


Alupro to showcase latest campaigns at LARAC 2023

Alupro, the aluminium packaging recycling organisation, will showcase its latest consumer awareness campaigns and creative educational initiatives at this year’s LARAC Conference. Taking place at The Hilton Metropole in Birmingham between 11-12 October, the recycling and waste management event will bring together hundreds of local authority representatives from across the UK to discuss policy, funding, collaboration and best practice.

Throughout the event, delegates will have the opportunity to talk to the Alupro team about MetalMatters, its direct engagement initiative designed to encourage households to recycle their metal packaging at the kerbside; #FoilFriday, the free and downloadable campaign to stimulate aluminium foil recycling; and Alupro’s range of education campaigns, which are curriculum-linked and aim to help future generations be more sustainable.

Alupro will also host a giveaway where one lucky attendee will take home a luxury hamper full of aluminium packaged goodies! Simply visit their stand in the LARAC partners exhibition area for a chance to win.

Tom Giddings, executive director at Alupro, commented: “The LARAC Conference brings together representatives from every local authority across the UK to discuss, debate and learn more about the most important waste management updates – from policy changes and funding opportunities, to possibilities for collaboration and best practice case studies. The event provides a unique opportunity to present our latest awareness campaigns and educational initiatives, as well as share the positive impacts of our latest collaborations.”

For more information about Alupro, visit www.alupro.org.uk, or meet the team on the stand in the LARAC partners exhibition area during the two-day event.

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: www.iom3.org/starpack.



‘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 www.alupro.org.uk/sustainability/manifesto.



[1] https://www.thegrocer.co.uk/deposit-return-schemes/deposit-return-scheme-set-for-delay-to-2026-at-earliest/682665.article