Aluminium recycling trade body Alupro has revealed that 31 out of the 80 councils it has targeted under its campaign to get local authorities to begin collecting aerosols and foil at the kerbside have committed to add either one or both of the materials to their collections since the initiative launched in September 2009.The organisation, which last week (May 5) also launched a range of free-to-use communication materials for councils to use to promote both new and existing collections of the materials, said it the campaign had seen “more success quicker than expected”.
And, it said that its campaign had gained added importance in light of the proposed packaging targets published for consultation in March 2010, which would require 70% of aluminium packaging to be collected for recycling by 2020 (see letsrecycle.com story).
Rick Hindley, executive director of Alupro, told letsrecycle.com: “We want to add another 80 local authorities over a two-year period and to meet the proposed 70% packaging target every local authority needs to be collecting them. They're an essential element if those targets are going to be achieved.”
Outlining progress to date on Alupro's industry-funded 'Aerofoil' campaign since it launched last year (see letsrecycle.com story), Mr Hindley explained that its efforts had focused on the 80 councils who did not collect one or both of foil and aerosols and also their had collection contract up for renewal within the initial two years the project was running for.“Through our data we know when contracts are up for renewal,” he said. “We sent an e-mail to those whose collection contracts were up for renewal in the next two years. Then there was a follow-up telephone call and then we had one-to-one meetings.”
Mr Hindley said that, while there was additional income available to councils from adding the materials to collections, the main motivating factor for introducing collections was pressure from householders to be able to recycle more materials at the kerbside.
He added that carbon could also have a role to play, due to the carbon savings that could be made by recycling aluminium. “Aluminium has huge carbon savings and, even though local authorities have no carbon targets, carbon is becoming more of an influence on local government strategy,” he claimed.
Of the 31 councils that are signed up to the project so far, 21 are adding aerosols to their kerbside collections, two are adding foil trays and eight are adding both.
Mr Hindley explained the campaign's work had also involved it talking to operators of materials recycling facility (MRF) to understand the issues some of them had with taking the materials – including concerns over contamination from foil.
He said this had involved him attending the Environmental Services Association's materials group to talk about the issues.
And, he revealed that Alupro had also carried out a yet-to-be-published piece of work on the separation technologies available for foil, while for aerosols it was undertaking communication work with MRF operators in relation to health and safety.
In terms of the communications materials that Alupro has launched this week for councils, Mr Hindley explained that: “We've been putting together a communications package that local authorities can use, with a range of adverts where local authorities can put in their own details.”
The materials are also set to include sample press releases and newspaper features, and Mr Hindley noted that “in some instances we will pay for some of the communications in order to test it and to validate some of the materials”.
He added that he believed that the materials, which are free to access for councils if they register on the site, were “fairly unique”, adding “we don't think anyone else is doing it for their materials”.
Among the key messages Alupro is hoping to convey to householders are that foil trays need to be empty before collection, and that aerosols must also be empty and have their plastic lids removed.
Looking at the wider aluminium packaging recycling picture, Mr Hindley welcomed the fact that can reprocessor Novelis had increased the price it paid for material by £75 per tonne last week (May 4), claiming that: “I think it's a reflection of what's going on with the scrap prices, as they continue to go up, which is obviously a reflection of a pick up of demand.”
However, Novelis has since revealed that its prices will today (May 10) fall back to the level they were at before last week's price increase, which means it will offer £800 for loose cans and £850 for baled or densified material.
The fluctuation is thought to reflect price changes in the often-fast changing aluminium scrap market.