MetalMatters springs into action on Global Recycling Day

As we celebrate Global Recycling Day, three UK Councils are launching their MetalMatters campaigns.

As more and more people across the UK shift their focus towards recycling today, Merthyr Tydfil, Powys and Teignbridge District Council in Devon will urge a total of 157,000 households to ‘Make their metals matter’.   Starting today, and for the next 12 weeks, residents will be encouraged to recycle all of their drink cans, food tins, empty aerosols, foil and foil trays in their kerbside recycling bins.

Every household will receive leaflets about MetalMatters and the campaign will be supported through local roadshows, outdoor advertising, social media and even a competition to win family tickets to Devon’s top attractions for lucky residents in Teignbridge!

Following the ‘Closing the Loop: Four steps towards 100% aluminium packaging recycling’ report published last week by Green Alliance1, these campaigns could not be more timely.

Rick Hindley, executive director of project managers Alupro, said:

‘The Green Alliance report indicated that only 13% of aerosols and foil are currently collected for recycling and considering that on average UK households use 27 aerosols, 182 foil trays and 144 metres of wrapping foil per year, it is a great opportunity to divert this valuable metal away from landfill and back into the recycling loop.   Aerosols and foil are also the two most likely items to cause confusion for householders regarding recycling which is why it is so important to clarify their recyclability and highlight the importance of recycling metal packaging2

The three campaigns are being jointly funded by MetalMatters, an industry partnership comprising of the UK’s leading producers, users and recyclers of metal packaging and Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, Powys County Council and Devon County Council respectively.   MetalMatters is a shining example of how industry and local authority collaboration can provide a much needed communications boost to improve metal capture rates and reduce contamination.

Launched in 2012 the programme has been deployed in 99 local authorities and directly communicated with over 6 million households to date.




Pictured: MetalMatters launch with Powys County Council L-R: Nicola Jones, systems and communication manager, Tata Steel; James Thompson, senior waste awareness and enforcement officer, Powys County Council; Kate Cole, programme manager, Alupro.

1 Green Alliance report, ‘Closing the Loop: Four steps towards 100% aluminium packaging recycling’

2 WRAP Recycling Tracker Survey 2018


About MetalMatters

MetalMatters was developed and is funded by the metal packaging manufacturing industry, reprocessors and fillers. The programme works in partnership with local authorities and their waste collection partners to promote metal packaging recycling, and thereby improve capture rates for metal packaging at the kerbside. The MetalMatters programme is supported by WRAP. MetalMatters is being managed on behalf of the funding partners by the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro).

For details of MetalMatters campaigns and case studies visit



MetalMatters funding partners (at 1st March 2019)


Industry organisations

Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro)

Beverage Can Makers Europe (BCME)

British Aerosol Manufacturers Association (BAMA)

Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association (MPMA)

European Aluminium Association (EAA)

Household foil manufacturers




WrapEx Ltd



Marks & Spencer


Metal packaging manufacturers

Ardagh Group

Guala Closures

Ball Packaging

Compliance schemes

Ecosurety Limited

Valpak Ltd

Metal reprocessors

Novelis UK Ltd

Tata Steel

Foil container manufacturers

Coppice Alupack

Nicholl Food Packaging

i2r Packaging Solutions




Alupro: Response to the publication of Green Alliance report

11 March 2019

We welcome the Green Alliance report ‘Closing the loop: Four steps towards 100% aluminium packaging recycling’; it reconfirms the conclusions of the modelling that Resource Futures conducted on our behalf, which demonstrated that aluminium packaging could achieve high recycling rates under a reformed packaging system.

The report emphasises the importance of separating clean aluminium packaging as early as possible in the recycling process in order to maximise the value, something that we have always championed. However, metal packaging is unique in that if it does remain in the residual waste stream, it can, and will increasingly, be captured through incinerator bottom ash.

Aluminium is the perfect material for the circular economy. We recognise an all-in DRS could deliver high recycling rates for drinks cans; like others, we are considering the options in the consultations, in order to identify the most cost-effective and environmentally beneficial methods of maximising the recycling potential of ALL aluminium packaging.

We have a rare chance to overhaul England’s recycling and waste system in order to ensure that materials are captured, recycled and reprocessed in the most effective way possible. Detailed research and full impact assessments are critical, and this report contributes to that research.

Read the full Green Alliance report here.

Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) response to Resources & Waste Strategy consultations

18 February 2019


“We are delighted that, following the launch of the Resources & Waste Strategy for England, the consultation papers are now published.  The Strategy is ambitious and provides a unique opportunity to develop a more coherent, fully inclusive system that benefits all.


We have the chance to ensure full transparency of the system which will drive positive behaviour change across the packaging and recycling value chain.


Whilst Alupro’s expertise lies in the recycling of aluminium packaging, we are working with other organisations to ensure that responses to the consultations are aligned and can be implemented across all four nations.  We are undertaking research projects to assess the impact, costs and unintended consequences of the various proposals.


We would be more than happy to share our expertise with others who may feel they do not have the relevant insights to respond to the consultations.


Aluminium cans already achieve recycling rates of 72%, and we are optimistic that the options in the consultations will ensure that rates for all aluminium packaging continues to increase.”


Rick Hindley, Executive Director


Every Can Counts continue partnering Drops Cycling Team

Drops Cycling Team announce Alupro and its Every Can Counts programme will continue as a lead sponsorship partner in 2019.


The Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) is continuing to sponsor the Drops Cycling Team into 2019 as part of its work to encourage everyone to recycle more of the aluminium packaging they use at work, at home and on the go. The sponsorship will continue to focus on the Every Can Counts programme, which helps people to recycle drinks cans used outside the home. Extra funding has also been provided by European Aluminium for the 2019 season.


Formed in 2016, The Drops Cycling Team is a member of UCI, the world governing body for competitive cycling. The team includes 10 riders from Great Britain and across the world.

During the 2019 season the team will be helping to raise awareness of the Every Can Counts programme at races around the UK, including the Tour de Yorkshire, OVO Energy Women’s Tour and Ride London.

Drops Director, Tom Varney says: “We’re delighted to have the support from Alupro for the third year running. The Every Can Counts initiative, and recycling in general, has many synergies with cycling and we’re excited to continue promoting and educating people about the huge benefits of recycling aluminium packaging.”


Alupro Executive Director, Rick Hindley says: “The continued partnership with Drops gives us a great opportunity to keep on reaching out to a large, and growing, audience of people who, because of their enthusiasm for cycling, also care about the environment. The profile of this young, ambitious and enthusiastic team of athletes complements the brand values of Every Can Counts; we’ll be working closely with the team to promote our message throughout the season and urging their followers to make their cans count”


Every Can Counts is supported by drink can manufacturers, recyclers and leading brands to encourage drinks can recycling. The programme looks to encourage the recycling of drink cans in all environments – workplaces, universities and colleges, events, festivals, simply on the go or when watching a cycling race!


For more information about Every Can Counts or to find out more about how your business or organisation can sign up to Every Can Counts visit or call 01527 597 757.

About Every Can Counts

Every Can Counts is a partnership between the European and UK drinks can manufacturers, and the aluminium recycling industry and leading drinks brands. It is supported by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP). It aims to enable and encourage more people to recycle the drinks cans they use outside the home. For more information visit

You can also follow Every Can Counts on Facebook and Twitter.

Funding partners



The Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) is a not-for-profit company which represents the leading aluminium packaging producers and reprocessors in the UK. We work to fulfil the industry’s obligation to meet, and exceed, recycling targets for aluminium packaging.   We are achieving this by working in partnership with local authorities, the waste management industry and the wider metal packaging sector to develop and stimulate the UK’s collection infrastructure. We also manage and run consumer information and education campaigns to encourage participation in recycling schemes.

Metal Packaging Europe (MPE)
Metal Packaging Europe is a non-for-profit making association whose prime objective is to promote Europe’s rigid metal packaging industry and provide it with a unified voice. Metal Packaging Europe brings together manufacturers, suppliers, and national associations across Europe.


Ardagh Group

Ardagh Group CPUK manufactures packaging for the world’s biggest brands and a reputation for innovation; pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, pioneering new production methods, new design techniques and new ways to recycle and save energy.


Ball Packaging Group
Ball is a leading beverage can maker with production facilities around the world. Ball Corporation supplies innovative, sustainable packaging solutions for beverage, food and household products, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services primarily for the U.S. government.

Can-Pack UK
CPUK is part of the Can-Pack group of companies (CP Group), with headquarters in Krakow, Poland. Can-Pack group is a leading supplier of metal and glass containers and metal closures.

Crown Holding Inc.
Crown Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiaries, is a leading supplier of packaging products to consumer marketing companies around the world. Crown is proud to be the leader in metal packaging technology.

Novelis operates Europe’s only dedicated used aluminium can recycling plant in Warrington, Cheshire. The plant has the capacity to recycle every aluminium can sold in the UK for the foreseeable future (currently 6.6 billion cans, which equates to approximately 101,000 tonnes in weight).

Red Bull
Red Bull established its business 23 years ago, in Austria. Nowadays, Red Bull Energy Drink is available in more than 160 countries and sold more than 4 billion times a year. To read more about the Red Bull can and its lifecycle please click on the link.

AG Barr
A .G. Barr p.l.c is the UK’s leading independent manufacturer of branded soft drinks with an annual turnover of over £237m. Established by Robert Barr in 1875, the company now produces a large range of soft drinks including IRN-BRU – which is seen by many as part of the culture of the Scottish Nation – Barr, Rubicon, KA, Strathmore Spring Water, and Rockstar energy drink (under a license agreement with Rockstar Inc USA). The company employs over 900 people across 11 sites in the UK. Barr Soft Drinks were the first new Scottish signatory to the 2010 WRAP Courtauld Commitment phase 2 which aims to reduce the carbon impact of grocery packaging, reduce household food and drink and packaging wastes and encourage recycling.

UK Canmakers
The UK Can Makers represents the UK manufacturers of beer and carbonated soft drinks cans. The organisation promotes the benefits of the drinks can and aids communications between the industry and its customers: the brewers and soft drinks manufacturers and the retailers, as well as the packaging industry, the media and consumers.


Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association

MPMA is the lead voice of the UK metal packaging industry with direct links into a European market employing 60,000 people across 200 companies producing more than 85 billion containers each year. The Association supports and represents members’ on industry matters related to operational, regulatory and environmental issues. In addition, the work of the association promotes the benefits of metal packaging and the sustainable attributes of steel and aluminium through education programmes, industry awards and relevant communication channels.

Alupro – response to Resources and Waste Strategy for England

Rick Hindley, Executive Director of Alupro (Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation)


We welcome the UK Government’s much anticipated Resources and Waste Strategy, which outlines an ambitious direction of travel.


The Devil is in the detail, and we strongly believe that robust research, including full impact assessments, must be carried out into all the options.  We are optimistic that the Government will propose measures to ensure the reformed extended producer responsibility system (EPR) will recognise the high value of materials such as aluminium; we look forward to continuing to work with Government to ensure that future systems maximise the full potential of aluminium.


For nearly 30 years Alupro has been working on behalf of our membership to highlight aluminium as a sustainable packaging solution, and during that time the sector has consistently invested in the infrastructure required to ensure that aluminium packaging is truly circular.


The proposed legislation and consultations provide a rare opportunity for us to shape a ‘whole system’ approach that will deliver the 25Year Plan, the EU Circular Economy Package, and the aspiration for the UK to be recognised as the leading global champion of a more sustainable future for the next generation.

For further information on the Resources and Waste Strategy please visit

Achieving an 85% recycling rate within two years

The publication of the National Audit Office’s review of the packaging recycling obligation system has again raised widespread public concern as to what is really happening to the packaging that householders recycle.


But there is good news; a recent report by the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation Limited (Alupro), demonstrates how an 85% recycling rate for aluminium cans will be achieved by 2020.


And critically, data shows that 92% of the aluminium packaging collected for recycling in the UK, is recycled within Europe[i]; this demonstrates that there is more than sufficient capacity within the EU to recycle the aluminium packaging collected for recycling in the UK.  Today there is more than enough capacity to recycle all the aluminium packaging sold in the UK.  It not only makes good environmental sense, it makes good commercial sense too.


The recycling rate for aluminium drink cans continues to increase year on year, hitting 72% in 2017[ii] (up from 70% in 2016), whilst the national recycling rate for all aluminium packaging reached 51% (up from 50% in 2016).


The report, ‘Achieving an 85% Recycling Rate within 2 years’ (published on Issuu), calls for action in several areas, including consistency of local authority kerbside collections, and the much overdue reform of the packaging producer responsibility system.  The effectiveness of any solution can only be measured if ALL data is reported.  Therefore, every reprocessor and exporter must be obligated to report their data as part of the producer responsibility system.

Recycling isn’t a waste of time, and it does work for materials that are part of the circular economy.  Householders can put aluminium packaging in their kerbside recycling and be reassured that it WILL be recycled, because of its intrinsic high value.   It is endlessly recyclable with no loss of quality – real recycling in action.


[i] The ‘End destination’ data was obtained under a “freedom of information” request from the Environment Agency. 51% of aluminium packaging collected was recycled in the UK and 41% recycled in Europe


[ii] The recycling rate for aluminium beverage cans is calculated by Alupro using data supplied by the national packaging waste database and by its member companies, using methodology consistent with that used across Europe to calculate recycling rates.


Industry giants join forces to tackle ‘on-the-go’ recycling #LeedsByExample campaign set to pilot new ways of improving recycling rates

The environmental behaviour change charity Hubbub and recycling compliance scheme Ecosurety are bringing together a unique partnership of big businesses in a bid to improve the recycling of food and drink packaging disposed of on-the-go. A combination of ground-breaking technology, new recycling facilities and engaging communications activities will be piloted in Leeds City Centre for six months from September 2018, in conjunction with Leeds City Council.

The #LeedsByExample initiative is backed by Alupro, Asda, Association of Convenience Stores, Ball Beverage Packaging Europe, British Plastics Federation, Coca-Cola GB, Costa, Co-op, Crown Packaging, Danone, Highland Spring, Innocent, Klöckner Pentaplast (kp), Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Marks and Spencer, Morrisons, PepsiCo and Shell. The results of the trial will be shared openly with the goal of national roll-out of the most successful elements.

The campaign addresses a growing challenge – 18 to 25 year olds are twice as likely as older generations to buy food on-the-go1, but millennials are less likely to recycle2. The food-to-go industry is already worth £17.4bn a year and projected to increase to over £23bn by 20221. Yet recent research by ReCoup found that only 42% of local authorities provide on-the-go recycling facilities3.

#LeedsByExample will see new recycling facilities introduced on the streets, in local offices, shopping centres, universities and transport hubs. A unique element of the initiative will be the first UK trial of an app developed by OPRL, which will use on-pack barcodes to help people understand what and how to recycle, with a map to find their nearest recycling points. The app is one of a range of approaches designed to engage the youthful population of Leeds – 57% of the population of the city centre are aged 16 to 244. Leeds City Centre is a major destination for business and leisure, it also has a growing residential population and the average weekly footfall of 1.3 million provides a great opportunity to trial this innovative approach to recycling.

Gavin Ellis, Director and Co-Founder of Hubbub said “We know that the public want to do the right thing and recycle as much as they can, but are often confused as to how to do this or simply don’t have access to the recycling facilities they need while they’re out and about. It’s fantastic to have the backing of this broad group of businesses to help make this possible. There is also an important role to play for local businesses. We’ll be providing subsidised recycling bins, communications support and advice and would love to hear from any Leeds businesses interested in getting involved.”

Cllr Rafique, Leeds City Council executive board member for environment and active lifestyles said “Improving recycling rates and changing behaviours to get people to think about what they are doing with their recyclable waste in Leeds is really important, and we are pleased to be part of this new and exciting trial. Leeds City Centre provides a great opportunity for us to test innovative technology and campaigns to get our population recycling on the go – be that in the office or out and about. I would encourage any of our local businesses interested in getting involved to get in touch with Hubbub to see how you can be part of this exciting project.“

James Piper, Managing Director of Ecosurety said “Whilst recycling on-the-go can seem a complex issue to tackle, we believe that simple infrastructure improvements and clear communication could make a huge difference to recycling rates and to litter. We hope that by demonstrating there are alternative ways of collecting and dealing with recycling, we can inspire other parts of the UK to follow suit.”

For further information on the initiative and to get involved, visit

*** ENDS ***

Notes to Editors

4. Leeds BID – based on total population of that area of 10,738 (Office of National Statistics Mid Year Population Estimates 2016)
5. The #LeedsByExample initiative is also supported by WRAP and ReCoup as affiliate partners.

About Leeds

Leeds is the UK’s third largest city, with an economy worth £21.3 billion and is forecast to grow by 21% over the next decade. It has the largest centre outside London for financial and business services, digital, creative, publishing and broadcasting and is ranked third in UK for its retail offering. There are 774,060 people living in Leeds. It has four universities and 200,000 students. Leeds has the busiest train station in the North of England catering for over 100,000 passengers a day.

About Hubbub

Hubbub is a charity which explores innovative ways to interest mainstream consumers in important sustainability issues, through different ‘hubs’ of activity: Food; Fashion; Homes; Neighbourhoods. Hubbub’s previous campaigns have included #SquareMileChallenge, the UK’s first large scale solution to coffee cup recycling, #NeatStreets to cut litter in UK cities and For Fish’s Sake (#FFSLDN) to tackle litter in the Thames.
About Ecosurety
Ecosurety is the market leading compliance scheme investing in quality recycling.

With more than 1,000 customers including Morrisons, The Co-operative Group and Virgin Media, Ecosurety supports efficient and more transparent investment in UK recycling projects via infrastructure, innovation and consumer awareness campaigns.

Committed to reducing the environmental impact of UK businesses, and to a tangible increase in UK recycling, Ecosurety helps producers organise quality evidence to ensure they comply with packaging, WEEE, batteries and international regulations.

A visit to Bridgnorth Aluminium

The two emails came as a complete surprise. The first one was easily dealt with once the Nigerian Prince had my bank details, but less so the news from Mr Hindley (aka the boss).  It informed us that the next team meeting would be held at Bridgnorth Aluminium (producers of aluminium lithographic printing plates and foil stock), which would include a plant tour of the casthouse and rolling mill. It wouldn’t have been my first choice – I hear Mauritius is lovely in Spring – but I have been working for Alupro for over 20 years and this has never happened before. It certainly promised to be a whole lot better than that school trip to Wigan bus depot.

Arriving at Bridgnorth Aluminium, we were treated like royalty. Maggie in particular was so helpful and the lunchtime spread made the sandwiches we offer our guests look like the reduced price aisle at the local supermarket (only kidding).

What caused much amusement from the team was the ‘dressing up’ in the safety gear for the plant tour, white ankle socks over black tights are only a good look during an eclipse or a winter power cut.

We were told that the tour would take around 2 hours! Yes, you read that correctly – the same length as a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones. What on earth were we going to see?

So, looking like Coco the clown on dress-down Friday, with safety shoes and glasses on, along with hardhats and protective jackets, we were split into 2 groups for a tour of the 120 acre plant, starting with the casthouse.

Our guide explained it was only primary aluminium and in-house production scrap (post-consumer aluminium scrap is not suitable for their process) that is melted in their furnaces (temp ranging from 400 degrees centigrade to 700!) We were stood approximately 3-4 metres away from the furnace and the heat was pretty overwhelming. I can’t imagine how the men clearing the dross from the furnace cope with it – if only horses sweat, then I was glowing buckets.

The molten aluminium is poured into adjustable casting moulds. The slab of aluminium is cooled by – our guide referred to it as – a ‘water curtain’ (which I believe is a technical term for a curtain of water). The rolling slab is sawn and scabbed to remove the cast surface before pre-heating to 500 degrees C. The slab is then processed on a hot rolling mill, which brings us to the next part of the tour – in the rolling mill.

I think I wouldn’t be alone in saying this was probably the highlight of the tour. The aluminium slab (width at this point is approximately 60cm) is passed through a hot rolling mill. The aluminium is rolled onto a long plate in a series of passes back and forth. I likened it to rolling out pastry and with each pass the slab decreases in thickness until it reaches 2mm (no longer like my pastry). This takes approx. 10 passes. It was quite amazing to see.

The slab is then cold rolled and processed further through heat treatment and a series of cold rolling passes. The coils are then trimmed, levelled and de-greased (the material needs to be free from any imperfection). The coils have their own identifying mark so they can be traced back to the factory.  The coils (now quality lithographic product) are shrink wrapped and stacked in the warehouse ready to be supplied.

Two hours was over and honestly it had gone quickly. There was a lot of technical information to take in that I admit did go over my head (by no more than several metres), but I think I got the important points.

I am not particularly patriotic (unless I am supporting the GB squad at the Olympics) but in a small corner in Britain, it was really heartening to see people doing ‘proper jobs’( i.e. not sitting at a desk like most of us) and producing and manufacturing a product of quality that is supplied to the world. That, is something to be proud of. Now, I just need a word with Mr Hindley on why this outing took so long to do….

Every Can Counts receives OVO Energy Women’s Tour and OVO Energy Tour Series Recycling Partnership title

Drink can recycling campaign, Every Can Counts has today announced that it is the 2018 Recycling Partner for both the OVO Energy Women’s Tour and the OVO Energy Tour Series events.

The campaign, run by Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro), is committed to encouraging those who participate in competitive and recreational cycling in the UK and Europe, to recycle their drinks cans when they are out and about. It is working with SweetSpot Group, the organisation behind both the OVO Energy Women’s Tour and OVO Energy Tour Series, to help provide its audience with an environmentally friendly outlook.

With 47% of cans being drunk ‘on the go’ and outside of the home; both the OVO Energy Women’s Tour and OVO Energy Tour Series events provide an opportunity for the recycling campaign to encourage and educate the general public, cyclists and cycling fans, on re-cycling their aluminium goods.

Rick Hindley, Executive Director of Alupro, said: “We are increasingly aware that recycling packaging is something simple we can all do to help protect the Environment Collectively the women’s stage race and the event series attracted over half a million visitors in 2017 and with higher audience figures expected this year; it gives us a great platform to shout about the benefits of recycling aluminium packaging and the Every Can Counts programme.

“If every person that attended these events last year, recycled just one aluminium can, then that would see a reduction of 72 tonnes in CO2 which is the equivalent to a car driving 347,618 kilometres. To put that into perspective – that’s like driving the total distance of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour (678km over five stages) 513 times over.

“As cycling fans, we are delighted to be involved with such globally recognised sporting events and look forward to working alongside the SweetSpot Group whilst watching the racing unfold throughout the summer months.”

Heath Harvey, CEO of SweetSpot, added: “The environmental benefits of both cycling and recycling need little explanation, so it makes perfect sense for the OVO Energy Women’s Tour and OVO Energy Tour Series to partner with Every Can Counts.

“We’re looking forward to working with Every Can Counts to promote the invaluable messages of their campaign; we hope that our enthusiastic racegoers will embrace their collective aims and do their bit to help the environment.”

In addition to branding and drinks cans recycling point set-ups at each stage of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour and the OVO Energy Tour Series – the Every Can Counts team will be attending the following events with their Recycle Race Game (


15th June – OVO Energy Women’s Tour Finish Stage 3  (Royal Leamington Spa)

16th June – OVO Energy Women’s Tour Finish Stage 4  (Worcester)


May 10th – Tour Series Round 1 (Redditch)

May 26th – Tour Series Round 5  (Aberystwyth)

May 28th –  Tour Series Round 6 (Stevenage)

May 29th – Tour Series Round 7 (Wembley Park)


The campaign is also supporting the Trek-Drops professional cycling team for the coming year and there will be opportunities to meet the team and win a number of prizes at the Every Can Counts stand at the above events.


Notes to Editor:

For more information about Every Can Counts or to find out more about how your business or organisation can sign up to Every Can Counts visit or call 01527 597 757.

About Every Can Counts

Every Can Counts is a partnership between the European and UK drinks can manufacturers, and the aluminium recycling industry and leading drinks brands. The programme currently operates in 13 European countries.

You can also follow Every Can Counts on Facebook and Twitter.

Aluminium packaging – real recycling: As aluminium drinks cans hit 72% recycling rate, data shows that almost 100% is recycled within Europe.

Whilst we are consumed by the issues of packaging pollution and concerns about where our recycling ends up, there is some good news.

The recycling rate for aluminium drinks cans continues to increase year on year, hitting 72% in 2017[1] (up from 70% in 2016), whilst the national recycling rate for all aluminium packaging reached 51% (up from 50% in 2016).

According to packaging waste recovery data, recently released by the Environment Agency[2], aluminium packaging easily achieved its 2017 business target.

There was a 4% increase in the number of PRNS raised in 2017 (94,092 tonnes) vs 2016 (90,095 tonnes).  Ultimately, the PRN numbers show that over 8,000 tonnes of aluminium PRNs were raised but not issued.  As in previous years, there is evidence that some reprocessors/exporters chose not to become accredited or decided not to raise the maximum number of PRNs that they could have done, due to the resulting low PRN prices.   This underlines Alupro’s support for reforms to the PRN system; our priorities are to ensure the system accurately records all the aluminium packaging collected for recycling, that consumer focussed behaviour change programmes are properly funded and that “real recycling” is recognised and rewarded.

Data also shows that 92% of the aluminium packaging collected for recycling in the UK, is recycled within Europe[3]; this demonstrates that there is more than sufficient capacity within the EU to recycle the aluminium packaging recovered for recycling in the UK.

Commenting on the recycling rates, Alupro’s Executive Director Rick Hindley said “It is fantastic to see aluminium packaging recycling rates continuing to increase year on year.  We must continue to increase awareness and understanding of what happens to used aluminium packaging when it is recycled. Given widespread concerns regarding where our kerbside recycling ends up, and whether it is actually recycled, we believe the 92% is statistic will give people the confidence that when they recycle aluminium packaging, it really is recycled – and close to home.

“Aluminium packaging has an intrinsic value.  The issue is encouraging consumers to recognise aluminium packaging as an extremely cost-effective material to recycle, through education and effective communications.  In the UK, developing and stimulating the existing kerbside collection infrastructure is a great starting point, but consistency is essential – the public remains confused by the differing rules across local authorities.  We must help them to do the right thing and recycle.”

Alupro manages several programmes funded by metal packaging manufacturers, reprocessors and leading brands, which the industry believes are making a vital contribution towards encouraging consumers to recycle more. MetalMatters focuses on improving metal capture rates in local authority recycling schemes; whilst Every Can Counts supports organisations wanting to enable people to recycle the beverage cans used outside the home.


[1] The recycling rate for aluminium beverage cans is calculated by Alupro using data supplied by the national packaging waste database and by its member companies, using methodology consistent with that used across Europe to calculate recycling rates.


[3] The ‘End destination’ data was obtained under a “freedom of information” request from the Environment Agency. 51% of aluminium packaging collected was recycled in the UK and 41% recycled in Europe.