Alupro launches cross-industry aerosol recycling initiative

Aluminium packaging recycling organisation Alupro has launched an initiative aiming to increase aerosol recycling among the public and drive increased recycling rates across the UK.

Alupro's research shows consumers correctly separate only 46% of aerosols for recycling, despite 95% of councils offering aerosol recycling at the kerbside

Alupro says the ‘UK Aerosol Recycling Initiative’ aims to ensure metal aerosol “recyclability and viability” in a post-extended producer responsibility and post-deposit return scheme landscape.

The cross-industry initiative will follow a “three-phase” approach. This means the initiative will attempt to educate consumers around best practice recycling, establish a baseline recycling rate and roadmap for achieving higher future rates for aerosol recycling and seek to secure substantial long-term investment into recycling infrastructure.

Tom Giddings, Alupro’s executive director, said: “Consistently, aerosols top WRAP’s annual list of confusing consumer packaging types in regard to recycling. As an industry, our goal is to exceed a 50% aerosol recycling rate by 2030, making this initiative critical.

“This initiative will see us work closely with our partners to improve consumer behaviour and aerosol recycling infrastructure in the UK.

“These changes to the metal packaging industry will contribute not only towards a wider sustainable future but also allow us to take an important step towards a 100% metal packaging recycling rate.”

Earlier this year, Alupro and environmental consultancy Resource Futures undertook sampling work to establish where the baseline recycling rate for aerosols in the UK lies. The results showed that, despite 95% of councils offering aerosol recycling at the kerbside, consumers correctly separated only 46% of aerosols for recycling.

Partners

The UK Aerosol Recycling Initiative brings together working group partners from across the value chain. These partners include Ball Aerosol Packaging, the British Aerosol Manufacturers’ Association, packaging compliance scheme Ecosurety, The Materials Processing Institute, Suez Recycling and Recovery UK and processors of reclaimed aluminium Tandom Metallurgical Group Ltd.

This initiative will pave the way for achieving much higher recycling rates for aluminium packaging

  • Robbie Staniforth, Ecosurety

Predrag Ozmo, head of sustainability at Ball Aerosol Packaging, said the initiative would provide a “unique platform” from which consumer behavioural change and infrastructure improvements could be made.

Robbie Staniforth, innovation and policy director at Ecosurety, said it was “vital” to build upon the success of aluminium recycling in general by focusing on specific packaging formats.

“Many of the barriers preventing aerosols being recycled are well-known. What is less clear is how those barriers can be removed,” Mr Staniforth added. “This initiative will pave the way for achieving much higher recycling rates for aluminium packaging in future.”

Consumers

Alupro also launched ‘The Lonely Aerosol’, a consumer engagement campaign, at the start of the year to encourage consumers to recycle empty aerosol cans (see letsrecycle.com story).

Tom Giddings is Alupro’s executive director

The pilot campaign reached a “high volume” of consumers, Alupro says, with almost one million people seeing the animations at least twice.

When asked by letsrecycle.com, Alupro did not confirm whether the campaign covers gas canisters or if it was undertaking any work on this problematic waste stream. Alupro has launched the campaign at a time when waste management companies are becoming increasingly concerned about a rise in the number of gas canisters appearing in waste and recycling streams (see letsrecycle.com story).

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