Aluminium packaging recycling rates continue to increase, shows Q2 PRN data

According to data released by the Environment Agency in August, 42,243 tonnes of aluminium packaging were collected for recycling in Q2 2021 – an increase of almost 5% compared to the same period in 2020 (40,903 tonnes).


So far in 2021, 84,090 tonnes have been collected in total (an increase of more than 7,000 tonnes compared to Jan-Jun 2020), including more than 59,000 tonnes from kerbside, bring and on-the-go systems (up 11%), as well as c.23,000 tonnes recovered from incinerator bottom ash (up 7%).


With a target of 66% and a carry-in of 8,326 tonnes, the sector is on track to once again surpass its collection goal and achieve a record-breaking recycling rate. Indeed, according to the Environment Agency data, 67% of the annual target has already been achieved.


Tom Giddings, general manager of Alupro, commented: “In 2020, the UK reached its highest ever rate for aluminium packaging recycling (68%*), including an impressive 82%** for aluminium beverage cans. With numerous national lockdowns, remote working and reduced commuting, home consumption increased significantly. This saw kerbside collection rates soar.


“It’s pleasing to see that, despite higher targets and a return to the workplace, the UK has maintained record-breaking rates. Indeed, we’re over two-thirds of the way to achieving our 2021 target at only half way through the year!


“Such impressive figures can be attributed to greater public awareness about the benefits of aluminium recycling and positive action towards improving resource efficiency. While it’s difficult to predict trends for the rest of the year, we are optimistic that collection tonnages will continue to prove positive. As such, it’s important that we celebrate these successes, while maintaining focus on our goal of achieving close to 100% aluminium recycling across the UK.”


For more information about Alupro, or its MetalMatters and Every Can Counts behavioural change programmes, visit To access the latest aluminium packaging recycling data, visit the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD).




*National Packaging Waste Data (NPWD) reports 2020 sales based on 2019 actual volumes. Rather than using 2019 production/sales volumes (as reported on NPWD) to determine the aluminium packaging recycling rate, the figure referenced in the text above (68%) uses predictive data for 2020 to provide a more accurate calculation. If 2019 production/sales volumes were used, the aluminium packaging recycling rate for 2020 would be 71%.


**The drinks can recycling rate is calculated based on sales data reported confidentially by drinks can manufacturers.

Local VIPs visit Alupro’s Redditch headquarters

Last week (3rd September), Alupro welcomed Rachel Maclean MP, member of parliament for Redditch, and Cllr Matthew Dormer, Leader of Redditch Borough Council, to its headquarters in Worcestershire. Alongside taking a tour of the facility, Ms Maclean and Mr Dormer met with the Alupro team to find out more about the organisation’s pivotal role in helping the UK to improve its aluminium packaging recycling rate.

Representing the aluminium packaging industry, Alupro works in partnership with local authorities, the waste management industry and the wider packaging sector to stimulate the UK’s collection infrastructure. As well as acting as the voice of the industry on issues of government policy and legislative development, Alupro manages information and education campaigns to encourage participation in recycling schemes.

During the visit, the team discussed the circular properties of aluminium and highlighted the positive impacts of its MetalMatters and Every Can Counts initiatives, which have helped the UK to reach its highest ever aluminium packaging recycling rate despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Tom Giddings, Alupro’s general manager, explained the organisation’s support of the Environment Bill and views on the introduction of a well-designed Deposit Return Scheme.

Commenting on the visit, Tom said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Rachel Maclean MP and Cllr Matthew Dormer to our Redditch headquarters and collectively explore some of the most important issues facing the packaging industry. With a clear interest in reducing plastic waste and tackling marine pollution, it was great to speak to Ms Maclean about the infinite recyclability of aluminium and its driving role within the circular economy.

Rachel Maclean MP, member of parliament for Redditch, added: “As an important organisation located within my constituency, I first met with the Alupro team in 2018 and was hugely impressed with the organisation’s diverse range of consumer engagement programmes and commitment to improving the UK’s aluminium packaging recycling rate.

“With several government policies set to impact the packaging industry over the coming years, it was fascinating to reconnect with Tom and the team to discuss the positive impacts that these could have and understand how legislation can act as an enabler to realising a circular economy for packaging materials.”


TUBEX Aluminium Tubes joins Alupro

Alupro is delighted to welcome TUBEX Aluminium Tubes as its latest member. Headquartered in Austria, but with production facilities worldwide, the company produces a wide variety of sustainable aluminium packaging solutions for the cosmetics, food, pharma and industrial sectors.

Rather than a manufacturer, TUBEX positions itself as a solutions provider that helps businesses delight their customers with eco-designed, protective packaging products. With more than 70 years industry experience, TUBEX boasts the world’s largest aluminium tube production facilities and the highest levels of delivery reliability.

With two main product lines – Blue Tube (created from 95% post-consumer and 5% post-industrial aluminium) and Monotube (manufactured from a single material type), TUBEX is committed to meeting manufacturer requirements for circularity, recyclability and sustainability. Each product is ready to use, resealable and achieves a high restitution rate.

Thierry Bitout, CEO at TUBEX Aluminium Tubes, commented: “While many packaging manufacturers are working to reduce their environmental impact, we believe that TUBEX is truly setting the standards through innovative use of low-carbon recycled aluminium. Indeed, our products show that a closed-loop, infinitely circular economy is perfectly possible.

“Joining Alupro provides a unique platform to engage with our customers, suppliers and consumers to further promote the aluminium recycling message.”

Tom Giddings, general manager at Alupro, added: “We’re delighted to announce TUBEX as the very first aluminium tube manufacturer to join Alupro. It demonstrates the company’s commitment to driving up recycling rates, as well as communicating the recycling message to consumers.

“We look forward to exploring the ways in which we can work together and make a real difference to the aluminium packaging recycling industry.”

For more information about Alupro, or its work representing the aluminium packaging industry, visit



Alupro announces winner of the Student Starpack Awards

Alupro, the aluminium packaging recycling organisation, has announced the winner of the highly esteemed Student Starpack Awards. Mauricio Rocktaeshel, from Loughborough University, took home first place in the Alupro-sponsored ‘sustainable aluminium personal grooming product & brand’ category, as well as the overall gold award.

Alongside the £500 cash prize, Mauricio also won a trip to the Crown Packaging Global Technology and R&D Centre in Wantage. Here, he will receive a behind the scenes tour of the facility’s brand packaging design and development operations.

As part of his submission, Mauricio created ‘OneElement’, a shaver brand designed to create zero waste. Both the manual razor and its stylish packaging, which doubles as a travel storage case, is made from premium quality 100% recycled aluminium.

Organised by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3), the competition challenged university students to identify creative packaging solutions to problems set by leading brands. As part of the sponsorship agreement, Alupro tasked applicants to design a personal grooming product to highlight the sustainability, recyclability, and shelf appeal of aluminium.

Tom Giddings, general manager of Alupro, commented: “We were impressed by all of the competition entries this year, but Mauricio’s design really stood out to the judges. His product and packaging was really well thought out and surpassed the reusability and recyclability element of our brief. What’s more, the brand was strong, and the packaging was highly attractive – a clear demonstration of the shelf appeal of aluminium.

“Not only could we see this product manufactured and stocked by retail outlets, but it could also solve the environmental issue of plastic blister packaging associated with razors. Congratulations, Mauricio!”

Mauricio Rocktaeschel, winner of the Student Starpack Awards, commented: “I am very grateful for winning the award and for the amazing opportunity to visit the R&D centre of Crown packaging in Wantage. Aluminium is a fascinating and versatile material, so I chose the brief because I like its attributes and wanted to explore its manufacturing methods, limitations, and opportunities in packaging applications.

“The project was a lot of fun; I learned a lot and it definitely increased my interest in packaging design. Thank you for the great opportunity and thank you to my friends and tutor for their support.”

For more information about the Starpack awards, visit:

Alupro announces winner of national education campaign

Alupro, the aluminium packaging recycling organisation, has announced the winner of its national educational programme – Masters of Infinity. Sophie Mae Juguilon (10), from St. Michael’s Catholic Primary School in Ashford, took home first prize for her outstanding manga comic strip.

Alongside a brand-new iPad, Sophie Mae was presented with a £1,500 voucher for her school. In addition, pupils who made the shortlist have all received a certificate of achievement.

Opened in September 2020, the competition ran alongside Alupro’s highly-successful primary education programme. Encouraging schools nationwide to integrate recycling into the curriculum, the initiative saw teachers provided with an introductory video, interactive lesson about recycling and a series of ‘quests’ for pupils to complete.

The resources were downloaded more than 580 times across the UK and Ireland, with hundreds of entries received for the competition. A second competition is currently underway across schools in Wales, providing students with the opportunity to win a Nintendo Switch Lite and a £250 book voucher for their school.

Tom Giddings, interim general manager at Alupro, commented: “The standard of entries for our Masters of Infinity competition was exceptionally high. While it was difficult to pick out just one winner, Sophie Mae’s entry really stood out to us. Creative and imaginative, the submission included interesting facts and demonstrated detailed knowledge of the aluminium packaging recycling process.

“Educating the next generation about the circular properties of aluminium is really important to the team here at Alupro and we are really pleased with how many schools and students have got involved. This has been our most successful educational campaign to date and we’re delighted with the support.”

For more information about Masters of Infinity or to download the free educational resources please visit


Every Can Counts takes recycled rainbow art installation to Manchester

As part of a collaboration between Every Can Counts and Greater Manchester Combined Authority, a giant rainbow created from 2,500 recycled beverage cans has appeared in Piccadilly Gardens.

Installed in celebration of World Environment Day (Saturday 5th June), the four-metre-high art piece aims to tackle litter and promote the infinite recyclability of aluminium. The cans used to create the installation were supplied by Go Green, a charity initiative managed by the Emily Jordan Foundation providing meaningful day opportunities to people with learning disabilities and complex needs.

Forming part of the Every Can Counts European Recycling Tour, ambassadors with colourful recycling backpacks will be roaming Manchester city centre to spread the recycling message and collect cans. Activities and events organised by Every Can Counts will be simultaneously taking place in 19 locations across 15 countries (including France, Spain, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands), aiming to combat littering by inspiring people to recycle their empty drink cans.

Chris Latham-Warde, Every Can Counts UK Programme Manager, commented: “As COVID-19 restrictions ease, more and more people are socialising outdoors and making the most of the summer weather. Unfortunately, littering in public spaces is becoming an increasingly serious problem as a result.

“Our eye-catching rainbow art installation aims to remind people about the many benefits of recycling. After all, drink cans can be recycled, filled and returned to the shop shelf in just 60 days – and this life cycle is never-ending, so long as we all do the right thing and recycle.”

Cllr Neil Emmott, GMCA Lead for the Green City-Region, said: “We hope this striking installation will capture people’s imagination and get them thinking not only about the scale of the waste challenge, but also the potential of recycling and the circular economy.

“Making sustainable choices and recycling correctly are small acts but, when taken together across our city-region, can make such a big difference to our environmental impact. I would encourage people to come along and learn more about the ways they can recycle effectively, helping to play their part in cutting litter and its harmful effects on our environment.”

The Every Can Counts rainbow archway will remain in place until Sunday 6th June. An ideal photo backdrop, Every Can Counts is running a social media photo competition offering the chance to win a £250 shopping voucher. To enter, take a snap of the rainbow and upload it to social media using #EveryCanCounts and tagging @EveryCanCountsUK (Instagram/Facebook) or @EveryCanCounts (Twitter).

Every Can Counts is a unique partnership formed between drink can manufacturers, drink can fillers and the wider recycling industry, all with the goal of reaching a 100% recycling rate for drink cans. To find out more information about Every Can Counts, visit


Alupro launches sustainability fact sheets to highlight circular properties of aluminium

Alupro, the aluminium packaging recycling organisation, has released a series of informative fact sheets outlining the benefits of aluminium packaging. Hosted on the Alupro website, the documents aim to provide packaging professionals, retailers, manufacturers and the wider supply chain with statistics and information about the material’s circular properties.

Covering a range of topics, including the recycling processes, collection rates, upcoming legislative changes and the carbon footprint of aluminium, the fact sheets are positioned as a valuable reference document to support design for recycling decision making.

Tom Giddings, interim general manager at Alupro, commented: “Sustainability, recyclability and resource efficiency are three key considerations analysed during the packaging design process. We wanted to create an easy way for packaging professionals to understand the superior properties of aluminium and access rigorous data to support their decision making.

“Infinitely recyclable, reformed endlessly and retaining its properties indefinitely, aluminium is a true sustainable success story. With exceptional properties and offering versatility for manufacturers, our ambition is to see aluminium used in an increasing percentage of packaging worldwide and always recycled in every market.”

To download your copy of the sustainability fact sheets, visit For more information about Alupro, or to become a member, visit


Tom Giddings appointed Alupro’s interim General Manager

Alupro, the aluminium packaging recycling organisation, has announced the appointment of Tom Giddings as interim General Manager. Previously Sustainability and Public Affairs Manager, Tom succeeds industry stalwart Rick Hindley, who moves on to another senior role within the recycling sector.

Having joined Alupro in June 2020, Tom has firmly positioned himself as a driving force within the team. Prior to joining Alupro, he held the role of Sustainability Data and Reporting Manager at international packaging provider DS Smith, where he was responsible for the continuous improvement of sustainability initiatives, alongside group-wide data governance.

Tom is appointed the interim General Manager with immediate effect, as Rick leaves the business in May, and will be responsible for leading Alupro as it works to fulfil the industry’s obligation to meet, and exceed, recycling targets for aluminium packaging. He will act as the independent voice of the industry on issues of government policy and legislative development and will also spearhead Alupro’s Every Can Counts and MetalMatters consumer education programmes.

Tom commented: “In 2020, more aluminium packaging was collected for recycling than ever before. This is a clear reflection of changing consumer behaviours and increasing awareness of the benefits of recycling – providing a significant platform for the future to move ever-closer towards a 100% recycling rate. Taking on the role of interim General Manager at such a pivotal time for the industry is a hugely exciting opportunity.”

Derek Peden, Alupro’s Chairman, added: “I would like to extend my personal thanks to Rick who, backed by an excellent and dedicated team has driven forward the industry and played an instrumental role in truly revolutionising aluminium packaging recycling rates.

“We are sad to see Rick move on to new challenges but we are pleased to annouce Tom’s new role. Tenacious, ambitious and knowledgeable, we are confident that he will continue to build and improve on the foundations laid by Rick maintaining aluminium packaging at the forefront of sustainability – committed to further improving recycling rates nationwide.”

“Rick has been a tour de force, not just at Alupro, but within the recycling sector as a whole. He was involved in the initial inception of the organisation and has been a committed leader throughout his career in the alu packaging industry.

“During this period, the aluminium packaging recycling rate has been increased significantly – reaching its highest ever rate last year. As Rick moves on to an exciting new role within the recycling industry, I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his hard work, dedication and inspiration as Alupro’s Executive Director.”


UK aluminium beverage can recycling hits record-breaking 82% in 2020

Data published earlier this month by the Environment Agency (EA) reveals that aluminium beverage can recycling hit its highest ever rate in 2020 – an impressive 82%. This represents a year-on-year increase of 6% in a market that saw significant growth.

With the COVID-19 pandemic leading to a significant increase in at-home consumption, more aluminium packaging was collected and recycled than any year on record. Packaging Recovery Notes (PRNs) were issued for a total of 151,515 tonnes, an increase of 31% compared to 2019 figures (115,808 tonnes).

Breaking down these figures, 106,047 tonnes of separately collected aluminium packaging was recorded in 2020 (compared to 89,543 in 2019), while the volume recovered from incinerator bottom ash (IBA) increased from 26,265 (2019) to 45,468 (2020). Reassuringly, 86% of the collected aluminium packaging was recycled within Europe.

Compared to other packaging materials, many of which saw recycling rates increase year-on-year, aluminium reported by far the greatest rise. Exceeding 2020 business targets by a staggering 15% and realising a surplus of 36,845 tonnes, 2020 boasts the highest ever aluminium packaging recycling rate.

Rick Hindley, executive director at Alupro, commented: “In a year where aluminium packaging sales figures rose significantly, announcing record-breaking recycling rates – in particular an aluminium beverage can rate reaching 82% – is excellent news indeed.

“A sharp increase in the volume of separately collected aluminium packaging recovered at the kerbside is a clear reflection of changing consumer behaviours and increasing awareness of the benefits of recycling, while the rise in the volume of aluminium recovered from IBA can be attributed to a number of new companies approved to issue PRNs and the commissioning of several new UK energy recovery facilities.

“Looking forward to the next 12 months, which sees the annual target for aluminium packaging recycling increase to 66% and a carry-in of 8,326 tonnes, it’s too early to predict how volumes will change. Figures for the first three months of  2021 suggest that aluminium packaging collection rates have continued to grow. However, with lockdown restrictions now easing and more packaging consumed on-the-go, it’s imperative that we maintain best practice recycling practices – whether inside or outside of the home.”

To access the 2020 recycling rates, visit the Environment Agency’s National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD) here.



  • National Packaging Waste Data (NPWD) reports 2020 sales based on 2019 actual volumes. Rather than using 2019 production/sales volumes (as reported on NPWD) to determine the aluminium packaging recycling rate, the figure referenced in the text above (68%) uses predictive data for 2020 to provide a more accurate calculation. If 2019 production/sales volumes were used, the aluminium packaging recycling rate for 2020 would be 71%.
  • The drinks can recycling rate is calculated based on sales data reported confidentially by drinks can manufacturers.

DRS consultation launch

In March, ministers launched a fresh consultation regarding the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. With the industry and campaigners still split on how the system should work, Rick Hindley, executive director at Alupro, provided the following comment:

“Aiming to tackle plastic pollution, increase recycling rates, improve recyclate quality and minimise litter, England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) is set to be rolled-out over the next few years. However, the unique market dynamics of the UK mean that simply ‘importing’ a DRS scheme from other countries is not guaranteed to deliver success. As such, adopting best practice design and taking all available insight into consideration will prove pivotal.

“In January, we released a comprehensive report, developed in partnership with independent think-tank London Economics, to analyse the implications of implementing a flat rate versus a variable rate deposit fee. The findings were clear – a flat rate DRS would result in 10% lower return rates for the first two years for all containers, plastic would further dominate the beverage packaging on supermarket shelves and the UK’s thriving aluminium industry, which employs more than 20,000 workers nationwide, would be faced with the real possibility of plant closures.

“Conversely, a variable rate fee would see the government achieve its 90% return rate target almost a year earlier, leading to a higher recycling rate and less litter on the streets – in essence, the best solution by far from an environmental and economic perspective. While there have been suggestions that a variable rate would be far too complex for shoppers, recent research disproves this view, with consumers overwhelmingly supporting higher deposits for larger containers.

“As consultations commence, it’s imperative that the government takes the valuable views of consumers and the packaging industry into close consideration when discussing introduction and implementation. Failure to do so could prove disastrous.”