Unilever Backs MetalMatters

Unilever UK has been announced as the latest partner of the MetalMatters programme. The company behind many well-known food, home and personal care brands has pledged its support for the programme and is the second consumer goods giant to back the innovative recycling programme.

Developed by the metal packaging industry, MetalMatters is designed to increase the capture rate for metal packaging collected for recycling by households. It is jointly funded by a partnership comprising the UK’s leading producers, users and recyclers of metal packaging.

Unilever, which runs Europe’s largest aerosol factory, has pledged an initial commitment for two years. Its support builds on a previous successful partnership with the Aerofoil programme, which has helped over 100 local authorities, covering 5.8 million households, expand their collection systems to include aluminium foil, and/or aerosols. The MetalMatters partnership is already working with a number of local authorities across the UK, with the recent campaign rolled out in Portsmouth being the first to benefit from Unilever funding.

Louis Lindenberg, global packaging sustainability director at Unilever, said: “One of our packaging goals set out in our Sustainable Living Plan is to work with partners in NGOs, government and industry to increase recycling by 5% by 2015 and 15% by 2020. This partnership takes us one step closer towards reaching this goal and demonstrates our continued efforts to help consumers reduce waste.

“As a consumer business it is imperative to take the lead and support initiatives that aim to shift consumer attitudes and help increase the amount of materials recovered for recycling. We have been impressed by the early successes delivered by the

MetalMatters programme, and realise that continued success depends on the involvement of brand-users of metal packaging. We look forward to making a positive contribution to MetalMatters’ continued success.”

Alupro executive director Rick Hindley, added: “Unilever’s backing for MetalMatters demonstrates that the programme is being seen as a best practice model within the industry, and is offering its partners an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to driving up recycling performance. The scale and potential of any programme is, of course, dependent on funding from key stakeholders; we welcome Unilever’s support and look forward to seeing MetalMatters continue to help householders recycle more at home.”

MetalMatters is managed on behalf of its funding partners by Alupro. So far this year the programme has developed campaigns with 15 local authorities and waste partnerships in the UK.

New Education Resources link Aluminium to Design & Technology Curriculum

A new education initiative challenging students to realise the design potential of aluminium, and the sustainability benefits of using this valuable material in everyday life, has been launched by the Aluminium industry.

The free teaching resource – the Alu D&T Challenge – is aimed at secondary school students between the ages of 11 and 14 (Key Stage 3). As well as providing information and lesson plans for teachers, students are challenged to design a sustainable item using Aluminium, based upon one of four themes: transport, built environment, packaging and technology. Schools can also enter the designs in a national competition which will be judged by a panel of industry and design experts.

Developed by the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) in partnership with the Aluminium Federation (ALFED) the resources have been endorsed by the Design and Technology Association (DATA),

Rick Hindley, Alupro executive director said: “The Alu D&T Challenge will help teachers raise students’ awareness of the value of aluminium and the importance of design for recyclability, to deliver both economic and environmental benefits.

“Aluminium is used in almost every aspect of modern life, from food and drink packaging to buildings and in aerospace. Its material properties offer many benefits to designers, but perhaps most importantly it can be recycled endlessly without any loss in quality. These materials have been developed to reflect our industry’s commitment to promoting recycling and delivering lasting behavioural change.”

School teachers will be able to enter their students’ designs into the Alu D&T Challenge competition until 23rd November. Prizes include a 3D printer  for winning schools in each category, and a cash prize for the students. Winners will be announced in January 2013.

Andy Mitchell, Assistant Chief Executive of the Design and Technology Association, said: “It is excellent to see this new D&T education resource made available to teachers. The Alu D&T Challenge provides a unique opportunity for key stage 3 students to produce innovative and creative responses to real, relevant and exciting design challenges and address sustainability issues. The resources will make a significant contribution to every schools’ modern D&T curriculum.”

Alupro’s partnership with ALFED to deliver the new education resource follows a period of significant activity and investment to boost recycling participation and capture rates for aluminium, and all metal packaging. This has also seen the organisation expand its membership to include the major producers of household foil and several major brands including Coca Cola and Nespresso.

Record recycling rates for aluminium packaging and drinks cans in 2011 reflects an increasing awareness of the economic value of recycling aluminium packaging, and the contribution it can make to the viability of a recycling programme.

Rick added: “Industry funded programmes such as Every Can Counts, Aerofoil and most recently MetalMatters, have not only increased aluminium capture rates, they are delivering a real shift in consumer behaviour leading to increased capture rates for all materials.

“Alongside programmes like MetalMatters and Every Can Counts, the Alu D&T Challenge will play a fundamental role in bringing about long-term behavioural change to ensure we maximise recycling rates for aluminium packaging.”

Every Can Counts in Weymouth & Portland this summer

Out-of-home drinks can recycling programme Every Can Counts has partnered with Weymouth and Portland Borough Council to promote on-street recycling to local residents and visitors.

Twenty Every Can Counts-branded can crushers have been installed across the borough in high footfall locations in and around the town centre and tourist sites . The can crushers are designed to make recycling easy, accessible and convenient, and complement recycling ‘twin bins’ for plastic bottles, cans and paper that have also recently been installed in the area. Of the twenty can crushers that will be installed, ten have been provided by the UK Can Makers, a funding partner of Every Can Counts.

With the population of Weymouth set to almost double as a result of visiting tourists, day trippers and spectators this summer, the council is using the Every Can Counts programme to help rise to the occasion and effectively meet the increased recycling needs.The can crushers will be supported by a promotions campaign to raise awareness amongst the local community and visitors.

After the summer, ten can crushers will remain in the area to help ensure Weymouth’s recycling efforts are maintained in the longer term. The other ten will be redeployed to support different projects promoting out of home recycling through the Every Can Counts programme.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is currently working towards a recycling rate of 60% in line with Dorset’s Waste Strategy. The Every Can Counts programme complements this and supports the council’s goal of increasing overall awareness of recycling as a way of life in Dorset.

Rick Hindley of Every Can Counts commented: “A very exciting summer lies ahead for Weymouth and we’re honoured to be working with the council to help the environmental message get seen, heard and acted upon. Meeting the recycling needs of the estimated 50,000 people set to visit the borough this summer is no small feat. It’s encouraging to see Weymouth and Portland Borough Council lead the way in keeping recycling front of mind for both visitors and local residents.”

The partnership builds upon previous successful Every Can Counts programmes running in nearby Bournemouth and Poole beaches, which inspired Weymouth and Portland to get involved. The investment in Weymouth and Portland almost doubles the number of Every Can Counts can crushers currently available in public places across the UK.

Councillor Ian Roebuck, Brief Holder for Environment and Sustainability at Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, said: “The Every Can Counts initiative is a great way to help more people recycle drinks cans. The fantastic can crushers located across Weymouth mean residents and visitors can recycle their cans whilst they are out and about easily and conveniently. I am sure that these can crushers will mean we will get more people involved in recycling.”

In addition to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, Every Can Counts collection points can be found at over 1,900 sites including beaches, shopping centres, music festivals and outdoor events. The programme is funded by a partnership comprising UK and European drinks can manufacturers, the aluminium and steel packaging and recycling industries, and energy drinks brand Red Bull.

Two out of Three Aluminium Beverage Cans Recycled in Europe!

The overall recycling rate for aluminium beverage cans in the EU 27* increased by 2.4% to 66.7% in 2010.

After the difficult economic situation in the previous years the consumption of aluminium beverage cans increased by a further 2 billion units to a total of 36 billion cans in 2010. This means that at least 24 billion aluminium beverage cans were recycled, resulting in a total greenhouse gas saving of 2.5 million tonnes – the equivalent of taking 1 million passenger cars off the roads for a whole year!

The European Aluminium Association has now reported for 20 consecutive years about the recycling results for the aluminium beverage in Europe. Back in the early Nineties, only 30% of all beverage cans were recycled. This figure rose to 52% in 2005, meaning that we are confident that we should be able to recycle 3 out of 4 cans by 2015 or thereabouts, with further growth potential for the years up to 2020

Several countries are already close to or even above this result, due to their highly efficient and well-established collection and sorting infrastructures (see annex – details per country).

Countries with well-managed ‘Green Dot’ systems usually collect aluminium beverage cans together with other metal packaging, and can easily sort out the aluminium fraction afterwards, for remelting by the aluminium recycling industry. This is even truer of deposit systems, which generate a clean fraction of used aluminium beverage cans that are immediately ready for recycling back into new cans or other valuable aluminium products such as window frames, bicycles or engine blocks, with an energy saving of 95% compared to primary production.

In order to capture the remaining cans, the aluminium industry, together with the beverage can makers, is focusing on cans that are consumed ‘outside the home’, for example at the workplace or at events and festivals. For this purpose we have developed the ‘Every Can Counts’ concept, which originally started in the United Kingdom and has meanwhile been introduced in France, Austria, Romania, and Hungary, and in the near future also in Ireland. ‘Every Can Counts’ points out the importance of recycling each and every beverage can, regardless of where its contents are actually consumed.

EAA continues to encourage the local authorities and waste management companies to improve existing collection and sorting facilities by using the latest available sorting technologies such as eddy currents and high-tech recognition systems, which can separate the aluminium packaging items from other packaging in a split second.

In this respect, EAA is very happy with the recent European Parliament report on ‘Resource Efficiency’, which calls on the Member States to encourage the use of such technologies. Additionally, the European Parliament recognized for the first time materials such as metals as ‘permanent materials’. Due to their characteristics, aluminium and other metals are infinitely recyclable, and are thus from an environmental point of view at an equal level with existing categories such as renewable and biodegradable materials.

MetalMatters launches to increase recycling rates in Scotland

MetalMatters has launched in Scotland with the support of the Scottish Government and funding from Zero Waste Scotland. The metal packaging industry-led programme is designed to increase the capture rate for metal packaging collected for recycling by households. It is hoped it will contribute to the Government’s vision of a Zero Waste society. MetalMatters is being rolled out initially in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils.

Richard Lochhead MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural and Environmental Affairs commented: “We are committed to increasing recycling rates in Scotland to 70% by 2025, as part of our Zero Waste Plan. We welcome the MetalMatters programme and look forward to it making an innovative contribution towards our goals.

“MetalMatters is also a great example of how industry and local authorities can work together to engage local communities, drive up recycling rates and also support further development of our waste management and recycling sectors.”

The current campaign, which is running across Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, includes leaflets, which have been sent to every home across Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, supported by radio and newspaper advertisements. Recycling vehicles in both local authorities will also carry the ‘make your metals matter’ message and roadshows in town centres and at major local events will enable residents to get more information about the campaign. The eight week campaign, which is managed by Alupro, is being jointly funded by an industry partnership comprising the UK’s leading producers, users and recyclers of metal packaging and Zero Waste Scotland.

Zero Waste Scotland Director, Iain Gulland said: “Households already recycle a great deal of packaging and want to ‘do their bit’ for the environment. Educational programmes, like MetalMatters, are key to getting more people to recycle more often. We need a greater understanding at grass roots level that household metals are a precious resource rather than waste – metals are a good example, as they can be recycled endlessly without loss of quality. It makes sense to residents that they should separate and recycle all their empty cans, food tins, aerosols and foils.”

Rick Hindley, Executive Director of Alupro added: “Scotland’s commitment to a Zero Waste society is something we are proud to be involved with and we welcome the support of both the Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland. We are looking forward to seeing how the campaign develops and the impact it has on household metal packaging and attitudes to recycling.”

Alupro took over management of the MetalMatters programme in late 2011 and so far this year has launched campaigns in Northern Ireland, and Sefton Borough Council in addition to the Aberdeenshire and City programme.

Aluminium packaging recycling rates hit record in 2011

2011 saw the UK achieve the single biggest annual increase in recycling rates for aluminium packaging and drinks cans since records began, the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro), confirmed today (Monday 18 June).

Figures released by Defra show that the recycling rate for all aluminium packaging has increased significantly – by more than 4% – putting the overall recycling rate at 45%.  Based on the industry’s own data, Alupro has also confirmed that the UK achieved a recycling rate of 60% for drinks cans in 2011 – an increase of more than 6% from 2010.  This is despite continued growth in sales of drinks cans and an increase in the amount of aluminium packaging on the market.

Commenting on the news, Alupro executive director Rick Hindley said: “The confirmation that recycling rates for drinks cans as well as aluminium packaging have increased so dramatically is welcome news for the industry.

“It follows a period of significant activity and investment to boost recycling participation and capture rates for  aluminium, and all metal packaging, and reflects an increasing awareness of the economic value of recycling aluminium packaging, and the contribution it can make to the viability of a recycling programme.

“Industry funded programmes such as Every Can Counts, Aerofoil and most recently MetalMatters, have not only increased capture rates for drinks cans away from the home and kerbside recycling rates for other metal packaging, they are also delivering a real shift in consumer behaviour leading to increased capture rates for all materials.”

At a time when local authority budgets have been substantially reduced, the Aerofoil campaign helped many local authorities to expand their kerbside collections, at little or no additional cost: in total, 98 local authorities covering 5.8 million households expanded their collection systems to include foil, aerosols or both materials.

Developed and funded by the metal packaging industry, reprocessors and fillers, the MetalMatters programme builds upon the success of Aerofoil.

MetalMatters helps local authorities and their waste collection partners to promote household metal packaging recycling. Supported by WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Programme), it is managed on behalf of its funding partners by Alupro.

Rick added: “Programmes like Aerofoil and now MetalMatters, have played a fundamental role in driving improvements in recycling rates. They have challenged the perception that some metal packaging is difficult to recycle, while also demonstrating the environmental and economic benefit of doing so.

“Increasingly major industry players and brand owners are seeing how Alupro membership, and support for these industry-backed programmes, can help them to ensure that more valuable aluminium and metal packaging is recycled while demonstrating the benefits to customers and end users.

“Meanwhile, it is vital that local authorities continue to communicate with households and promote their recycling services. Regular, clear communication is essential to reinforce awareness. This will not only increase participation and capture rates, but will bring about long-term behavioural change.

“This is an area that the metal packaging industry is already actively engaged in, and will continue to focus on.”


Notes to Editors:

Further information about aluminium recycling is available at: www.alupro.org.uk

The Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) is a not-for-profit company which represents the leading metal packaging producers and reprocessors in the UK. It works with government on key recycling and packaging policy issues and is also responsible for managing the MetalMatters, Aerofoil and Every Can Counts recycling campaigns. Full details on Alupro members can be found on www.alupro.org.uk/members

For further information contact:
Richard Truman or Will Herman
Pelican Public Relations Ltd
Tel: 01457 820807
E-mail : richard.truman@pelicanpr.co.uk or will.herman@pelicanpr.co.uk

Alupro welcomes increase in packaging recycling targets, but calls for regular review

The Aluminium Packaging and Recycling Organisation (Alupro) has welcomed the Government’s announcement that statutory packaging recycling targets which will increase year on year, are to be introduced from 2013 until 2017; but has cautioned that continual review is critical if the industry is to maximise recycling performance.

Following the announcement by DEFRA that packaging recycling targets will increase for aluminium by 3%, plastic by 5% and steel by 1% per year, with glass recycling split by end use, Alupro has confirmed it believes the targets to be challenging but achievable, as well as fair and equitable across all materials.

Alupro has cautioned that targets must continue to be reviewed however and is calling for active support from Government, stakeholders, brands and retailers to ensure recycling rates are maximised.

Rick Hindley, Alupro executive director, said: “Alupro fully supports the setting of aspirational targets but because there is still uncertainty concerning the removal of aluminium included in composite packaging from waste arising figures we strongly recommend that the targets set until 2017 are reviewed in 2014.

“This will help Government ensure targets remain challenging, achievable and aligned with industry objectives to maximise recycling performance.”

Alupro has also welcomed the full review and analysis of the data relating to aluminium waste arising and obligated tonnage that the Government confirms will be undertaken in 2012.

Rick continued: “The way in which aluminium packaging recycling has traditionally been measured and consequently reported has been flawed by the UK’s interpretation of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.<br /> “In fact the UK remains the only country in Europe which classifies the aluminium used as an essential but minor component of composite or laminate packs, as aluminium packaging.

“With around 16,000 tonnes of aluminium used in composite and laminate packaging, the removal of aluminium included in composite packaging from waste arising figures would play a significant role in helping the industry to boost recycling performance.

“Such a move would also bring the UK into line with the requirements of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive. In that way, recycling performance could be measured and reported on an equal footing with all other EU countries.”

In fact, Alupro has confirmed that the metal packaging sector is committed to achieving an average 80% recycling rate across Europe by 2020.

Rick added: “For these levels of recycling to be achieved at European level, it is essential that UK recycling levels continue to increase in-line with the industry’s model, developed by Alupro in response to the previous consultation in 2010.

“Alupro remains confident that we can achieve this target along with the sector’s own UK target of 65% for all aluminium packaging by 2020. The new, statutory targets will play a vital role in achieving this by driving investment through the Packaging Recovery Notes (PRN) system, and ensuring recycling performance is maximised.”

Investment through the PRN system is critical in providing an incentive to reprocessors and exporters to remain accredited. Falling PRN prices in the last three years – the result of flat recycling targets – have led reprocessors and exporters to question the commercial value of remaining accredited.

Alupro has called for the Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP) to establish a working group to consider the issue as the accreditation of reprocesors and exporters is fundamental to maintaining the integrity of the PRN system, while investment through the PRN system plays a vital role in enabling accurate reporting of recycling performance to the EU.</p> <p> Rick added: “While further on-going review is required to ensure targets remain challenging, achievable and set at the optimum level to boost recycling performance, today’s announcement is good news for the industry.

Leading Household Foil Suppliers Join Alupro

The UK’s three major household foil suppliers have announced that they have joined the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) and are also supporting the metal packaging recycling programme MetalMatters.

BacoFoil brand owner Wrap Film Systems, along with Netherlands-based foil and film supplierITS and retail and catering foil supplier Wrapex are working with Alupro and MetalMatters to help customers and users to recycle as much valuable aluminium foil as possible and to work towards corporate and social responsibility commitments. Although household foil does not have an obligation under the packaging regulations the sector takes its Producer Responsibility seriously and is keen to promote the recyclability of the product, both to customers and consumers.

Aluminium household foil can be recycled easily alongside food and drink cans and foil containers, and increasingly all of these materials are being collected together in local authority kerbside recycling programmes.

Alupro executive director Rick Hindley said: “The environmental and financial benefits of recycling aluminium are well understood. Increasingly major industry players and brand owners see how Alupro membership, and supporting its industry-backed programmes like MetalMatters, can help them to ensure that more of the valuable aluminium found in items like cans, trays and foil is recycled while demonstrating the benefits to customers and end users.”

Developed and funded by the metal packaging manufacturing industry, reprocessors and fillers, MetalMatters helps local authorities and their waste collection partners to promote household metal packaging recycling, and thereby increase the amount of metal packaging recycled in the home. Supported by WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Programme), it is managed on behalf of its funding partners by Alupro

Every Can Counts accounts for 51m cans recycled in 2011

Every Can Counts, the away from home drinks can recycling programme, has today revealed that it helped collect 51 million used beverage cans from workplaces and ‘on the go’ locations across the UK in 2011. This equates to 774 tonnes of aluminium and steel collected and around 5,800 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions saved as a result of the programme.1

Every Can Counts, which is funded by a partnership comprising UK and European drinks can manufacturers, the aluminium and steel packaging and recycling industries, and energy drinks brand Red Bull, announced the results to mark the third anniversary of the programme’s launch.

On average each employee at workplaces registered with the programme recycled five cans per month, which represents a year on year increase in workplace recycling performance of 25 percent. The programme has also developed a viable model for drinks can recycling at outdoor events. Around 1 million drinks cans, which equates to nearly 15 tonnes of aluminium and steel, were collected by Every Can Counts across ten music festivals in 2011. To date, nearly 700 organisations around the UK are registered with the programme, with almost 5,000 Every Can Counts branded collection points at over 1,900 individual sites.

Originally launched as a trial programme to test the barriers and drivers to successful recycling outside the home, Every Can Counts has now established a model to help organisations that are working towards sustainability objectives, such as zero waste to landfill. The programme was cited as an example of best practice in the Government Review of Waste Policy in England 2011.

With a name and brand identity that works well in any language, the Every Can Counts programme has also now been successfully replicated in France, Austria, Romania and Hungary, with more European markets looking to follow suit.

Rick Hindley, director of Every Can Counts commented, “The 2011 results confirm that we have established a successful model for encouraging recycling outside the home. However this is just the tip of the iceberg, and we are constantly on the look-out for new ways to help businesses that want to recycle more, as it’s important to keep testing, refining and innovating. We have some exciting plans in preparation for 2012, which we hope will keep us at the forefront of developments in this challenging area.

“The development of new Every Can Counts-branded programmes in Europe is very exciting, as it offers us a unique opportunity to promote can recycling under a single ‘brand’ identity across a wide market. And it offers our programme partners a great platform for demonstrating extended producer responsibility and making an impact on recycling rates across the EU.”

Around 30% of the 9.5 billion cans sold every year are consumed outside the home; mainly in workplaces and whilst ‘on the go’, so they do not get picked up for recycling through local authority collections for domestic waste. Every Can Counts addresses this gap by helping organisations to set up and promote recycling schemes to staff and customers. Results from participating organisations also show that, although the programme targets drinks cans, volumes of other recyclables increase as a result of using Every Can Counts branded resources.


Note to Editors:

1 Figures have been calculated using data provided by a representative sample of Every Can Counts programme users and calculated using methodology approved by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Alupro raises concerns about the future of Cash for Cans

An unintended consequence of the proposed ban on cash transactions for scrap metal would be to make ‘cash for cans’ recycling activity illegal. Around the world “cash for cans” programmes have played, and continue to play, a key role in the aluminium recycling ’loop’, and have helped to establish the aluminium drinks can as the world’s most recycled drinks package.

In the UK we estimate around 10% of the aluminium drinks cans collected for recycling come through cash for can systems, operated by around 300 scrap metal dealers and community businesses. This equates to around 300 million cans.

Collecting aluminium drinks cans provides a valuable income stream for individuals and thousands of charities, community organisations and youth groups around the UK, with an estimated £3 million paid annually to these organisations based purely on the scrap value of the used aluminium drinks can.

Moreover, a number of social enterprises and community businesses provide “cash for can” services to their local communities. These organisations often provide training and meaningful employment for adults with learning disabilities and/or the long-term unemployed, and the margin they make on providing the “cash for can” service contributes towards the running costs of the organisations. A ban on cash transactions is likely to have a negative impact on the viability of these organisations.

Typically cash for cans transactions are small, with collectors cashing in a few sacks at a time. Most transactions are for less than £20. There is no evidence of illicit trading or public health issues as is the case with the theft of cable, lead etc.

A complete cash ban could therefore have a significant negative impact upon the volumes of cans collected, reducing the recycling rate for drinks cans, something the Government is committed to improving, and removing a valuable income stream for charities, youth groups etc across the UK.

We would urge the UK Government to consider an exemption for ‘cash for cans’ transactions under any new legislation.


For more information contact Rick Hindley, Executive Director
01527 597757 / rick.hindley@alupro.org.uk

Media enquiries: Richard Truman / Will Herman, Pelican PR
01457 820807