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:
o Maarten Labberton, Director Packaging Group –
– Metal Packaging Europe:
o Website:
o Phone: +32.2.897.04.93
o Email:

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

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.

Alupro is recruiting!

We are currently looking for a digital marketing and social media executive to join the team at the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro).

Alupro is a well respected industry funded, not-for-profit organisation which has been representing the UK’s aluminium packaging industry for 30 years. The organisation developed and manages the deployment of the leading behaviour change programmes – ‘Every Can Counts and ‘MetalMatters‘ .

We are looking for a digital marketing and social media executive to oversee all aspects of our online marketing and social media strategy for Alupro and our two programmes – Every Can Counts and MetalMatters.   This will include planning and executing digital marketing campaigns and designing, maintaining and supplying content for our websites. The position will be initially for an intern with a view to becoming permanent.

Social media activity is a key element of the digital strategy; you will develop and plan social media for Alupro, Every Can Counts and MetalMatters.

You’ll have a strong understanding of working with digital platforms and managing digital projects.  You will have a clear idea of how digital tools add value to company strategy and performance.  Editing and posting video, podcast and audio content should be second nature.

The role will include analysing and producing reports on digital and social media activity and developing ideas for improvements.

We are a small team, so good interpersonal skills are essential.  You will be confident to challenge our existing thinking about what digital marketing can achieve for our organisation and members.

We will rely on you to know what works best in the areas of digital marketing and social media, because of your knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject. You will need to stay abreast of trends and movements in digital technology, media & demographic strategy and broader business practices.

Ultimately, you will contribute to raising our profile and reputation through creating and maintaining a positive social media presence.

Key requirements

  • Ability to deliver outstanding campaigns
  • Can plan and deliver paid media – PPC paid social, display – across multiple channels
  • Content ideation and creation
  • Asset production e.g. videography
  • Identifying and working with partners
  • Solid understanding of best practice SEO and ability to optimise content assets
  • Project management and client handling
  • Enthusiastic and willing to learn
  • Car essential

If you would like to apply for this role please forward your CV along with a brief covering letter to

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