• Aluminium packaging recycling body urges caution to avoid unintended consequences of a DRS
  • Two thirds of shoppers will switch from buying infinitely recyclable cans to plastic bottles
  • One in five people will lose their deposit as they continue recycling at home


An ‘all-in’ deposit return scheme for drinks containers could result in an extra 823 million plastic bottles being produced[1], inadvertently adding to plastic pollution – one of the key issues the scheme is trying to solve.


As part of research released today by Alupro, the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation, 2,000 UK adults[2] were asked to imagine there was a 20p deposit on every can or bottle of any size, as proposed in Scotland. This would mean consumers face paying an upfront deposit of £4.80 on top of the purchase price of a 24-can multipack[3] compared with a deposit of 80p for four large plastic bottles containing the same amount of liquid. When faced with this choice, two thirds of those currently buying cans in multipacks would be likely to switch to the plastic bottles. Even if the deposit was 10p, half (51%) said they would still be likely to choose the plastic bottles over the multipack of cans.


The government has recently signalled that it favours an ‘all-in’ deposit return scheme. This follows plans in Scotland to implement a deposit return scheme in 2021, where plastic, glass or metal drinks containers[4] of any size will have the same deposit attached, likely to be 20p. Alupro, whose aim is to maximise the amount of aluminium packaging being recycled in the UK, is warning that attaching the same deposit fee to all sizes of container will lead consumers to opt for larger plastic bottles, having consequences for the environment and encouraging the purchase of larger portion sizes.


Consumers will, of course, be able to recoup any deposit they pay by taking their empty containers to a designated collection point – most likely a supermarket or local shop – but the survey revealed that one in five people (19%) would still end up using their recycling bin at home, which would leave them perpetually out of pocket. Alupro is also concerned that some of those who can least afford to lose a deposit will be those most likely to struggle with returning their drinks containers – 22% of those surveyed said it would be difficult to regularly take their cans and bottles to a collection point.


Executive Director of Alupro, Rick Hindley, said: “We are very concerned that if the same deposit fee is applied regardless of container size, it will have a significant impact on multipacks of aluminium cans. The majority of consumers buy multipacks, and these will become twice as expensive as the equivalent volume in plastic if a deposit return scheme is introduced with the same deposit fee. This would be a significant upfront cost for household budgets and, as our survey has confirmed, it will influence purchasing habits.


“However, a variable deposit fee based on the size of the container avoids changing current consumer purchasing habits.  Consumers are sophisticated enough to understand a variable deposit fee as is the norm in Scandinavian countries where deposit return schemes are well established. We urge the Scottish Government and UK Government  to consider the impact of other schemes; the German drink can market is only just starting to recover following the introduction of a poorly designed deposit scheme in 2003 that all but wiped out can sales, which plummeted by 96% almost overnight[5].  Our survey found 83% of people are concerned that a deposit return scheme could increase the consumption of plastic.  We must avoid this scenario playing out in the UK.”


Maurice Golden MSP, Shadow Climate Change, Environment, Land Reform Secretary, commented: “We want to see an ambitious and inclusive system that works well across the whole of the UK. It is concerning that a flat deposit fee could lead to a dramatic increase in the amount of plastic being purchased and a decline in the use of aluminium. We must ensure that the deposit return scheme is well designed and does not discriminate against one material over another.”

Did you know? Aluminium facts:

·        75% of the aluminium ever produced is still in use today: 79% of those surveyed didn’t know this.

·        75% of the plastic ever produced is now in our oceans: 66% didn’t know this.

·        Aluminium can be recycled again and again without ever losing quality: 71% didn’t know this.

·        Aluminium is the most valuable recyclable material and generates a lot of money for councils: 73% didn’t know this.

·        We have capacity in the UK to recycle all the aluminium sold: 77% didn’t know this.

·        Plastic degrades every time it is recycled: 82% didn’t know this.


For an interview with Rick Hindley, Executive Director of Alupro or visuals to support the story contact Barley Communications:

Caroline Narboni: caroline.narboni@barleycommunications.co.uk / 07803 049768

Maria Kortbech: maria.kortbech@barleycommunications.co.uk / 07952 507270

Sam Williams: sam.williams@barleycommunications.co.uk / 07949 607029


Notes to editors


[1] Calculation: 9.7 billion cans sold annually (Can Makers). Of which, 7.566 billion sold in multi-packs (78%).

4.986 billion cans lost as a result of 65.9% of multi-pack consumers switching to 2 litre PET (1.645 billion litres of drink). This equates to 823 million extra plastic bottles

[2] Survey of 2,016 UK adults, conducted 5-8 July 2019 (Censuswide)

[3] Multipacks dominate can sales in the UK, accounting for 78% of all can sales (Nielsen, 2017)

[4] Excluding milk bottles

[5] A.C. Nielsen/The Nielsen company, Frankfurt a.M., 2004: Can sales dropped from 6.1 billion cans to 250 million following the introduction of the German DRS in 2003.

Alupro Extends OPRL’s Materials Reach

Alupro is joining OPRL’s guarantors to add aluminium packaging recycling to the partnership of paper and card, cartons and plastic packaging recycling organisations alongside local authority and brand and retailer recycling interests.  The on-pack recycling labelling run by OPRL Ltd, the rapidly growing not-for-profit, embraces all packaging materials in a unified scheme understood and acted on by more than 3 in 4 consumers.


Alupro joins ACE UK, CPI, INCPEN, LARAC and RECOUP as guarantors of OPRL Ltd.  The shared ambition of all the organisations is to achieve greater and more effective recycling of packaging materials to establish a truly circular economy.


Rick Hindley, Executive Director of Alupro, said “We are delighted to become a guarantor to OPRL; our members recognise the huge importance of clear messaging to consumers to encourage recycling, and on-pack recycling labelling is a vitally important element of the communication toolkit. We look forward to working with OPRL and its partners to further develop a clear and unambiguous labelling system.


Jane Bevis, Chair of OPRL Ltd, added “Our strength lies in the broad coalition of organisations supporting our labelling scheme and recyclability evaluation and design activities.  The public and participating businesses know that the same evaluation framework and rigour is applied to all packaging, and the same simple and easily recognisable recycling information given to consumers.  That’s why, in just 10 years, our labels are so widely recognised and trusted.”


“We share with all our guarantors a commitment to support the growth of a circular economy in packaging and packaging materials. This closer relationship with Alupro broadens the range of materials covered, enabling us to draw on their expertise and insight into aluminium packaging-related issues.  We continue to develop the right tools to support members in responding to the evolving policy agenda, delivering more recyclable packaging ranges and engaging consumers more effectively in recycling that packaging.”



Notes to Editors


1)   OPRL Ltd operates the UK-wide On-Pack Recycling Label scheme used by over 400 member companies and charities. Alupro joins ACE UK, CPI, LARAC and RECOUP as guarantors, giving a broad base of support.  OPRL is an independent not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. Established to help retailers and brands engage their customers in recycling packaging, OPRL Ltd opened membership to the wider packaging supply chain in 2017, and to compliance schemes and sustainability consultancies in 2018 and 2019.

2)   The Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) represent the leading aluminium packaging producers, reprocessors, converters, fillers and brand owners in the UK on issues relating to the recycling of aluminium packaging.  Alupro manages several programmes which are making a vital contribution towards encouraging consumers to recycle more: MetalMatters has been managed by Alupro since 2012 and focuses on improving metal capture rates in local authority recycling schemes, and Every Can Counts, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, engages people to recycle drinks cans used outside the home.  Alupro is celebrating 30 years of shining the spotlight on aluminium this year.  Further information is available via www.alupro.org.uk www.metalmatters.org.uk www.everycancounts.co.uk

3)   The OPRL label, which is currently under review, has three categories which tell consumers how likely it is that their local authority will accept specific packaging materials for recycling.

·        Widely recycled (75% or more of UK local authorities collect that type of packaging).

·        Check local recycling (between 20% and 75% of UK local authorities collect that type of packaging).

·        Not currently recycled (fewer than 20% of UK local authorities collect that type of packaging).

4)   OPRL’s consumer recognition and response figures are taken from online and face to face surveys of UK residents in November and December 2018, that showed at least 3 in 4 consumers recognise, understand and act on the label.

5)   OPRL has developed a range of tools to support members in designing and producing recyclable packaging, engaging consumers in recycling it effectively, and local authorities in collecting it. Our ambition is to support every stage in the packaging materials cycle to help realise a truly circular economy.

6)   OPRL is once again sponsoring the Design Team of the Year Award at the 2019 UK Packaging Awards, ensuring sustainability and consumer engagement in recycling are at the heart of the criteria.

Media Contact: Jane Bevis, OPRL on 07585 047457

Pumpkin Rescue


Halloween is the spookiest time of the year, but what happens after we’ve carved pumpkins to decorate our homes is probably the scariest thing of all.

Around 15 million pumpkins are wasted in the UK every Halloween. Yet pumpkin flesh is edible and could be used in delicious recipes that not only prevent the waste but also delight our taste buds.

#PumpkinRescue is Hubbub’s initiative to tackle the pumpkin waste and reduce that scarily high figure of 15 million binned pumpkins.  One of our team members got into the spirit by carving a recycle-themed pumpkin.  This looks pretty good, but even better is that every bit of pumpkin was put to good use, creating delicious dishes such as roasted pumpkin with ginger and chilli flakes, and smoked paprika roasted seeds. And the parts that can’t be eaten went into home compost or food waste collection.

For the fifth year, Pumpkin Rescue is happening in locations across the UK and the spooky activities include carving, cooking workshops and tasting events. You can find out more here https://www.hubbub.org.uk/Event/eat-your-pumpkin-and-join-the-pumpkinrescue

Halloween doesn’t last long, so make sure it leaves only good memories.  Find more sustainable ways to reuse, recycle and create Halloween props at https://www.hubbub.org.uk/diy-halloween-costume

Record Q3 aluminium packaging recycling performance

The latest recycling data, released by the Environment Agency today, reports the strongest ever quarter for aluminium packaging.


According to the data, just under 30,000 tonnes of aluminium packaging was recycled in quarter 3, and year to date, recycling is up by 6% (81,286 v 76,582 tonnes) when compared to the same period last year.   Most importantly, it is well on course to achieve this year’s target (108,919 tonnes) with likely additional volumes available to be carried forward into 2020.

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

‘We are optimistic, following a disappointing Q2, that this year’s target will be met and anticipate that there should be more than enough evidence to allow producers to meet their obligations.   As a result, we expect the unjustifiably high Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) price will start to fall to more realistic levels.   Historically, aluminium PRN prices have been below £30 per tonne, yet currently aluminium PRN’s are trading, on the spot market, at around £450 per tonne.’

While aluminium is now in a positive position, we continue to urge the Government to make short-term changes to the PRN system, pending the reform of producer responsibility system, to ensure that PRN prices stabilise at a realistic level and to ensure that monies raised through the system are invested to boost recycling levels as intended.

Aluminium beverage can recycling in Europe hits record 74.5% in 2017

31 billion cans recycled, or 420,000 tons of aluminium

The overall recycling rate for aluminium beverage cans in the European Union, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland in 2017 rose 2.3% from 2016 (72.8%), to reach an all-time record 74.5% in 2017. Almost 31 billion cans were recycled in the EU and EFTA countries in 2017, representing a total of more than 420,000 tons of aluminium and underscoring its contribution to the European circular economy.

All aluminium cans are equally recyclable, no matter the colour, design, format or size. Recycling aluminium consumes 95% less energy than producing it from raw material, while the recycling process generates only 5% of the greenhouse gas emissions produced from raw material production. Can recycling therefore saves the annual equivalent of  approximately 3 million tons of GHG emissions – or the annual emissions of a mid-sized European town like Belfast, Malmö or Thessaloniki 1.

Can manufacturers (members of Metal Packaging Europe) and their aluminium suppliers are confident that the European can recycling rate will increase further in the coming decade, primarily through a combination of measures such as improved PMD collection systems (‘yellow’ or ‘blue’ bags and bins) and incentive based initiatives such as modern deposit return and voluntary take back (‘cash for cans’) schemes.

Can manufacturers and aluminium recyclers are ready to invest in additional recycling capacities, providing other stakeholders, such as public and private waste management operators, are equally prepared to invest in additional and modern sorting facilities.

Leonie Knox-Peebles, CEO of Metal Packaging Europe, stated: “We believe that the new European calculation method will hardly impact the final recycling rates being achieved for aluminium beverage cans.”

Maarten Labberton, Director Packaging Group at European Aluminium, added: “As we move towards our 100% recycling rate target, what matters most is the recycling yields; aluminium is well positioned for the future given its very low losses during recycling.”

The annex provides a detailed overview of aluminium beverage can recycling rates by country in 2017.
Recycling rates have been calculated on the basis of the present EU reporting rules.

1 If a yearly GHG emission of 9.2 tonnes is assumed per EU citizen as used in the Product environmental footprint methodology,
see Normalisation method and data for Environmental Footprints – Deliverable 2 of the AA Environmental Footprint and Material
Efficiency Support for Product Policy (No. 70307/2012/ENV.C.1/635340)


For further information:
– European Aluminium:
o Website: european-aluminium.eu
o Maarten Labberton, Director Packaging Group – labberton@european-aluminium.eu
– Metal Packaging Europe:
o Website: www.metalpackagingeurope.org
o Phone: +32.2.897.04.93
o Email: info@metalpackagingeurope.org

Recycle Week 2019 has arrived!

We are delighted to support Recycle Now’s annual campaign, Recycle Week.  Now in its 17th year, Recycle Week aims to inspire people to recycle more items from all around the home.

This year’s campaign is a real call to action – ‘Recycle.  Its in our own hands’, a motto that reflects the purpose of our own behaviour change campaigns, Every Can Counts and MetalMatters.

On behalf of our members, Alupro has been promoting the benefits of recycling aluminium packaging for 30 years, and Recycle Week provides an opportunity to shout even louder about how important it is to recycle.

For more information visit recyclenow.com

Aluminium drink cans hit 75% recycling rate, an increase of 38% in just eight years

The UK aluminium drink can recycling rate has risen to 75%, its highest ever level, up from 54% in 2010.  Additionally, 95% of aluminium packaging collected in the UK is recycled within Europe, rather than being sent around the globe. At a time when sustainability is so front of mind, the drink can remains the most recycled packaging in the world.

The overall aluminium packaging rate has continued to rise steadily too, from 41% in 2010 to 52% in 2018, meaning that over 100,000 tonnes of aluminium packaging sold in the UK was recycled last year.

These significant improvements in UK aluminium recycling rates is attributed to the investment made by the aluminium sector as a whole to ensure that the packaging they produce is recycled.

Programmes managed by the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) such as MetalMatters and Every Can Counts are positively impacting the behaviour of people across the UK by creating awareness of the recyclability of aluminium and metal packaging.

Rick Hindley, executive director of Alupro commented: “Aluminium is the perfect example of the circular economy because it can be recycled forever. We know that British consumers want to do their part, so we’re delighted that more cans are being recycled than ever before.  Within 60 days the can you recycle could be back on the shelves as another can.”

The government is currently consulting on reform to the producer responsibility system, which could lead to more accurate reporting of recycling rates.  A significant volume of used aluminium packaging is being recycled from Refuse Derived Fuel outside the UK, but not currently being officially recorded towards UK targets.  This means the latest impressive rates are still underreported, and future recycling rates for aluminium packaging will be even higher under these reforms.


New Life Cycle Assessment of aluminium beverage cans shows significant carbon emissions reduction


Courtesy of Metal Packaging Europe

Brussels, 22 May 2019


Metal Packaging Europe, the association of European producers of rigid metal packaging and their supply chain partners, completed a new Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of aluminium beverage cans (25, 33 and 50 cl volumes).


Using the latest data available (2016), the study covers the life cycle of aluminium beverage cans produced in Europe, from raw materials extraction to manufacturing, and end-of-life. When compared to 2006 data, the study records significant reductions in CO2-equivalent emissions. The carbon footprint has been reduced by an impressive 31% on average for the three volumes, confirming the industry’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions and to decouple production growth from its environmental footprint.


The main factors which have made this progress possible are:

  • the continuous improvements taking place in the aluminium production and can manufacturing processes;
  • a reduction in can weight; as well as
  • an increase in aluminium beverage can recycling rate.


For a 33 cl can, the reduction on Climate Change impact over the 10-year period (2006 – 2016) is 33% and includes the following key figures:

  • a 12% reduction in the aluminium ingot supply;
  • a 35% reduction in electricity and heat consumption, thanks to improved efficiency of can making process, as well as a 4% reduction in body can weight;
  • close to 50% increase in the aluminium beverage can recycling rate across Europe, going from 50% to 73% in 2014.


The 2016 data shows that, in terms of Climate Change impact, the average contribution of the cans manufacturing is 18% over the life cycle. Recyclability of aluminium remains the key factor for further improvements: for every 5% increase of recycled aluminium beverage can, an average of   -6% reduction on Climate Change impact is achievable.


Aluminium beverage cans are a mono-material packaging, which make them easy to collect, sort and recycle. In 2015, the aluminium beverage can recycle rate has further increased to 74%, thanks to well-performing collection and sorting schemes and the active participation of consumers. Aluminium is a permanent material that can be recycled again and again, without losing its material characteristics, and its scrap value is the highest of all packaging materials, making aluminium beverage cans a perfect fit for the Circular Economy.


It is part of Metal Packaging Europe’s commitment to provide fact-based and unambiguous information on our industry. We are pleased with the significant progress made by our members and are confident that even higher reductions will be achieved thanks to improved recycling rates across Europe,” said Leonie Knox-Peebles, CEO of Metal Packaging Europe.


The following Metal Packaging Europe members submitted data for 2016: Ardagh Group, CROWN Packaging Europe, Ball Packaging. European Aluminium provided the latest data sets for aluminium sheet production. Participating companies cover up to 87% of the relevant European markets.

The study, conducted by RDC Environment and reviewed by Solinnen, is fully compliant with ISO 14040/14044 standards.





For further information about Metal Packaging Europe:

+32 2 897 04 90




About Metal Packaging Europe:

Metal Packaging Europe gives Europe’s rigid metal packaging industry a unified voice, by bringing together manufacturers, suppliers, and national associations. We proactively position and support the positive attributes and image of metal packaging through joint marketing, environmental and technical initiatives. We represent the industry’s views and voice opinions so that stakeholders understand how metal packaging contributes to the Circular Economy.


About Metal Packaging:

Metal packaging is used throughout the retail, wholesale, commercial and industrial sectors. It comes in many shapes and sizes and can be used to package virtually any product. Some 98bn units are produced every year for the beverage, food, health & beauty, household and industrial markets. Made from permanent materials, metal packaging saves resources and continues to achieve record recycling rates in Europe, with a growing number of countries reaching in excess of 80%.

Listen to REB News’ latest podcast featuring Rick Hindley of Alupro and Antonia Grey from BMRA

The second episode of ‘The Recycling Podcast’ from REB Market Intelligence is now available to listen to on Spotify, iTunes and on their website.

This week’s podcast focuses on the metals industry and features our very own Rick Hindley and Antonia Grey from the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA).

Discussions were predominately about metals, including packaging and the Resources & Waste Strategy, as well as the status of the scrap metal sector and manufacturers’ desire to use metals.

You can listen to this podcast via our own player here or listen on the go on iTunes and Spotify.

This podcast has been set up by REB Market Intelligence to provide the latest industry news and views from major players in the recycling sector and related sectors.

Alupro expresses concern at unintended consequences of high deposit fee

Following on from the announcement by the Scottish Government of the principles of the deposit return system, we are concerned about the deposit of 20p that is proposed for all sizes of container and format.  This is double the level typically used in the Scandinavian DRS programmes.  This  high level of deposit across all sizes of containers will lead to unintended consequences, specifically on the sales of multi-pack cans, the perceived price of which would rise significantly. The proposed 20p deposit would increase the cost of 24 cans in a multipack by £4.80 whilst the same volume of drink sold in four 2-litre plastic bottles would increase by 80p.


In the UK nearly 80% of drinks cans are sold in multi-pack format; in Scandinavia a majority of cans are sold individually.


Research conducted in Scotland on our behalf [Icaro, June 2018] showed that almost all (97%) of alcoholic cans from a multi-pack were drunk in the home and 72% placed in household recycling.  However, 23% of shoppers indicated that they would switch to larger plastic bottles, if a 10p deposit were placed on all containers; the impact of the proposed 20p deposit is likely to be even more significant.  This would perversely result in more plastic bottles being sold, and a decline in the number of infinitely recyclable aluminium cans sold.


We have raised our concerns directly with the Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland.


In order to avoid distorting the market, we believe the deposit should vary according to the size of the container, as it does in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.  This would then help to level the playing field across multi-pack cans and large format plastic bottles.  We also advocate no cross-subsidy of materials; and that the high value and infinite recyclability of aluminium is recognised in the product fee.