When it comes to metals . . . nothing goes to waste.

Did you know.….from your black bin bag waste, valuable metals can be recovered that you were not able to recycle in the first instance?  As a keen recycler, I thought this was certainly worth exploring.

Scanmetals UK Ltd, based in Willenhall, invited me to tour their recycling and recovery plant, in order to see the process of recovering aluminium and other non-ferrous metals from incineration plants, for the purpose of recycling.

For the uninitiated, the general waste materials are collected at the household kerbside by your local council and taken to an energy from waste plant (EFW). Here the material is passed through the incinerator and the residue left behind is known as incinerator bottom ash (IBA). The majority of this IBA is known as aggregate, and it usually contains an amount of ferrous and non-ferrous metals. The IBA is delivered to an aggregate company where it is cleaned and treated and then the aggregate material is sold to companies like Scanmetals who specialise in the recovery of the non-ferrous metals for recycling.

Before my visit, I was advised not to wear my ‘best clothes’; arriving at Scanmetals, unlike other processing facilities I have visited, there was no distinctive smell, but it is extremely dusty in the arrival bay area.

My guide, the lovely Joao, showed me where the aggregate material is delivered from the suppliers and where it is deposited in the large bay area. Joao explained that each suppliers’ material is kept in separate bays in order to report back to each EFW plant the exact amount of non-ferrous material recovered.

The aggregate material looks like a mass of dusty grey stones of all shapes, but on closer inspection (if you don’t mind the dust), you can easily identify items such as aluminium can lids, toothpaste tubes and aerosols.

Joao explained the aggregate material is loaded onto a hopper and is passed in a drier machine (that looks like a big drum) which removes the dirt and moisture and is then passed into a second drier for further cleaning.

We then walked through into a second warehouse, where the cleaned aggregate material is transported on a sort of enclosed conveyor. In here, there were huge pieces of equipment where the different sizes of metal are treated and separated using the latest sorting technology.

I was shown the different types of metal that the Scanmetals technology can recover, such as aluminium, copper, brass, zinc, stainless steel and a surprisingly large amount of coins.

It is an incredible and unique process that we should be shouting about – when it comes to metals, nothing goes to waste. Inspired by what I saw and working with Scanmetals, we’ve produced a video to show their process of recovering aluminium from non-ferrous aggregate materials.

Click on the film below to view this unique process.


2020 aluminium recycling targets well within reach, thanks to record rates

According to figures released by the Environment Agency (EA) earlier this week (12 March), 116,670 tonnes of aluminium packaging were collected for recycling in the UK last year – a 17% increase compared to 2018 figures (99,852) and surpassing government targets by more than 8,400 tonnes.

Aluminium packaging collected through kerbside, bring and on-the-go systems increased by almost 21% (from 74,595 to 89,974), while tonnage recovered from incinerator bottom ash also experienced an uplift (from 25,546 to 26,696).

Rick Hindley, executive director at Alupro, commented: “I was delighted to read the EA data, which highlights another impressive rise in the volume of aluminium packaging collected and recycled across the UK. Since 2010, the industry has experienced a steady increase (11%), which should be seen as a considerable achievement!

“Record rates suggests increased public awareness about the benefits of  aluminium recycling and positive action towards improving resource efficiency. This highlights the importance of our behavioural change programmes – MetalMatters and Every Can Counts.

“Looking forward to the first two months of 2020, provisional data highlights a year-on-year increase of 52% (compared to the same period in 2019), with 19,371 tonnes of aluminium already collected for recycling.  This, alongside a highly positive carry over, puts the industry in an excellent position to surpass this year’s targets, which again increase by 3% (from 61% to 64%).

“Consequently, under normal market conditions, we anticipate that PRN prices should begin to fall and return to a more realistic and sustainable level. It’s therefore essential that we continue to celebrate increasing recycling rates, while maintaining focus on achieving our ambition of close to 100% recycling across the UK.”

To access the 2019 recycling rates, visit the Environment Agency’s National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD) here.


Alupro appoints Prova to champion the benefits of aluminium packaging

Alupro, the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation, has appointed cleantech and environmental communications consultancy Prova to manage its external public relations activities. The agreement will see Prova deliver a powerful campaign to champion the benefits of aluminium packaging.

Alupro is an industry-funded, not-for-profit organisation with more than 30 years’ experience representing the UK’s aluminium packaging industry. The organisation works hard to fulfil the industry’s obligation to meet, and exceed, recycling targets for aluminium packaging. Members include Novelis, Hydro Aluminium, Crown Holdings, Red Bull UK, Nespresso and Ardagh Group.

Partnering with Prova will help Alupro to maintain its position as the sought-after authority of the sector, position aluminium positively in the national packaging debate and build strong links with the metal packaging sector to stimulate the UK’s collection infrastructure.

Bev Burnham, head of marketing & communications at Alupro, commented: “Aluminium is a true packaging champion. It has an intrinsically high value, can be recycled indefinitely and contributes to a perfectly circular economy.

“With climate change and sustainability continuing to hit the headlines across mainstream media, we wanted to champion the numerous benefits of aluminium packaging and celebrate its circularity. Partnering with Prova will help us to increase our voice and influence behavioural change – a key priority in the midst of government consultations regarding packaging and collections.”

Richard Postins, managing director at Prova, added: “Alupro is respected nationwide for its extensive work across the aluminium packaging loop. Over the coming months, we’re looking forward to working in close partnership with the team to lead the legislative debate, celebrate the circularity of aluminium packaging and build strong relationships across the sector.”


To find out about Prova, or its circular economy experience, visit www.provapr.co.uk.



Record final quarter recycling figures result in aluminium packaging exceeding 2019 recycling target

Provisional data published by the Environment Agency (10th January) has indicated that aluminium has exceeded the 2019 packaging recycling target of 112,200 tonnes (61%); the data reports 114,748 tonnes collected for recycling, an impressive 15% increase on 2018.

Due to be finalised in March 2020, the data indicates that Q4 was the strongest quarter of the year and the highest ever reported across the 12-month period with approximately 34,000 tonnes of aluminium packaging being recycled. This exceeds the target and is anticipated to provide a significant carry forward towards next year’s increased targets (61% in 2019 vs 64% in 2020).

Quarterly data released by the Environment Agency in 2019 consistently suggested that a significant volume of Packaging Recovery Notes (PRNs) were being raised but not issued. This resulted in inflated PRN prices, peaking at over £500 per tonne and undermining the credibility of aluminium as a material with enviable recycling credentials. The provisional data reinforces this position, indicating a surplus of at least 6,000 tonnes of recycled material over and above the target requirement.

Rick Hindley, Executive Director for Alupro said, “The data clearly demonstrates another impressive increase in the volumes of aluminium packaging collected and recycled – we anticipate that the final reported figure will be higher, which has been the case in previous years. It is excellent news that the target has been exceeded and the sustained growth of aluminium packaging recycling continues, but the data again clearly suggests that the aluminium PRN market has been distorted.

“The abnormally high PRN price has significantly impacted producers and once again brings into question the system itself. Aluminium is a sustainable material, yet the market distortion caused by organisations holding back PRNs in order to force prices to artificially high levels, undermines the aluminium packaging industry. We are eager to see what additional investment to support further increases in aluminium packaging recycling and collection will result from the hugely increased revenues received by some aluminium recyclers and exporters last year.”

Alupro is fully aligned with the Advisory Committee on Packaging’s (ACP) proposal for a Compliance Fee, which has garnered wide-spread support and could offer obligated businesses an alternative route to compliance whilst reforms of the producer responsibility system are pending. In addition, a joint industry letter was sent to Defra in December, highlighting the concerns shared across the retail food and drink manufacturers and packaging manufacturers, including British Retail Consortium and Food and Drink Federation, in relation to the negative impact of the enormous PRN price increases.


Notes to editors:
About Alupro (www.alupro.org.uk)
The Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) represents 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 focuses on improving metal capture rates in local authority recycling schemes, and Every Can Counts engages and enables people to recycle drink cans used outside the home.


Response to Scottish Govt Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee report, December 2019

Rick Hindley, executive director of Alupro (Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation) said:


“Alupro welcomes today’s report by the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee which identifies the need for a variable deposit as part of the deposit return scheme for drinks containers. We have worked hard to ensure the voice of the aluminium packaging industry is heard, with our main concern being the plan to attach a flat rate deposit of 20p to all containers, of any size.


“Our consumer research showed that a £4.80 deposit on a 24-can multipack was very likely to drive people away from infinitely recyclable cans and towards larger, plastic bottles, where the same amount of liquid could be purchased with just an 80p deposit. This would result in the purchase of millions more plastic bottles – an unintended consequence we’ve been highlighting through our #MakeDRSWork campaign.


“It is also reassuring that the Committee has identified the need to review the baseline data on recycling, an issue we highlighted in our evidence.  I’m delighted that as well as the plastics issue, MSPs have also considered the potential health impacts of a flat rate deposit. I hope this very encouraging report translates into a final scheme that achieves its environmental ambitions and is fair for all.”



Yule be shocked! An additional 3,000 tonnes of aluminium could be recycled this Christmas

Co-op has launched a campaign to foil tonnes of aluminium, including Christmas mince pie cases, getting unnecessarily sent to landfill.


Research by the Co-op has revealed that more than one in five* (22%) UK adults do not recycle household aluminium and it is estimated that over 3,000 tonnes could end up in landfill this Xmas**.


Brits are expected to consume 378 million mince pies^ over the festive period, with around 378 tonnes of aluminium packaging used to bake and package the festive favourite. And almost a quarter of the aluminium packaging will not be recycled correctly. This is because shoppers unwittingly dispose of foil and aluminium products in general household waste when it can be recycled. However, the Co-op has found that one in five local authorities do not accept aluminium foil in their recycling schemes yet 81 per cent of consumers said they would recycle aluminium if they could.


Each year it is estimated that an average household uses 144metres of kitchen wrapping foil (15,000 tonnes) and 182 foil containers (20,000 tonnes). Unfortunately, a fifth of this is unnecessarily going to landfill.


Co-op and Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) are urging all UK local authorities to accept the material along with food cans and glass bottle collections.


Currently 18 per cent^^ of local authorities do not accept aluminium foil, yet all of the councils have an aluminium food can and glass bottle collection in place. The process to collect aluminium foil is the same as these other materials at kerbside collection and if the foil has been rinsed out (just as we do with metal food cans), the packaging can be recycled.


Michael Fletcher, Chief Commercial Officer at Co-op said: “How we do business really matters. The world is experiencing a climate crisis and we need to work together to avoid it. Accelerating action is the only way to mitigate and reduce impacts on our natural world, and to ensure stable food supply chains in the future.


“We are committed in helping our members and customers to make environmentally friendly choices and reducing the environmental impact of products is and always has been at the core of Co-op. That’s why we are writing to local authorities to encourage them to collect such simple items as part of collections they already have in place.”


Recycling one tonne of aluminium saves nine tonnes of C02 emissions. Aluminium can be endlessly recycled, without losing quality and takes as little as eight weeks to be recycled and be back on the supermarket shelf. What’s more, recycling aluminium saves up to 95 per cent of the energy it takes to make both aluminium from raw materials meaning it’s much more energy efficient than producing from virgin materials.


Rick Hindley, Executive Director of Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) says “We are delighted that Co-op is shining a light on the importance of recycling this valuable material.  So many festive food products are packaged in aluminium, and it is unthinkable that some of it may end up in the rubbish bin when it can be collected in kerbside recycling.  Aluminium is endlessly recyclable with no loss of quality, and most importantly, aluminium packaging placed in a recycling bin is always recycled because it is such a valuable material financially – it is real recycling in action.”



*A survey conducted on behalf of Co-op in December 2019 of 2,000 respondents

**35,000 tonnes on average each month / 12 = 2,916


Mince pies = 1m mince pie cases = 1 tonne of aluminium = 378 tonnes

Kitchen foil wrap = 1,250 per month

Foil containers = 1,666 per month


^c63m packs of mince pies (Kantar 20 we 30th Dec-18). 6 mince pies per pack = 378m


^^Of the 408 councils in England, Scotland, Wales and NI, 391 already collect cans, of which 69 of them don’t collect foil – 18% of the councils who collect cans don’t collect foil wrap and pack. Full list can be provided on request



  • 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.