The recycling rate for aluminium drinks cans rose to 72% in 2017 from a rate of 70% the previous year, according to the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro).
And, the organisation revealed, the national rate for all aluminium packaging reached 51%, compared to 50% in 2016.
Alupro said the recycling rate for aluminium drinks cans continues to increase “year on year”. And, packaging waste recovery data, recently released by the Environment Agency, shows aluminium packaging “easily achieved its 2017 business target”.
There was a 4% increase in the number of PRNS raised in 2017 (94,092 tonnes) vs 2016 (90,095 tonnes). Alupro explained that the PRN numbers show that over 8,000 tonnes of aluminium PRNs were raised but not issued.
As in previous years, there is evidence that some reprocessors/exporters chose not to become accredited or decided not to raise the maximum number of PRNs that they could have done, due to the resulting low PRN prices, Alupro said.
And, the organisation explained that this underlines its support for reforms to the PRN system: “To ensure the system accurately records all the aluminium packaging collected for recycling, that consumer focussed behaviour change programmes are properly funded and that ‘real recycling’ is recognised and rewarded.”
According to Alupro, the data also shows that 92% of the aluminium packaging collected for recycling in the UK, is recycled within Europe.
Commenting on the recycling rates, Alupro’s executive director, Rick Hindley, said: “It is fantastic to see aluminium packaging recycling rates continuing to increase year on year. We must continue to increase awareness and understanding of what happens to used aluminium packaging when it is recycled. Given widespread concerns regarding where our kerbside recycling ends up, and whether it is actually recycled, we believe the 92% is statistic will give people the confidence that when they recycle aluminium packaging, it really is recycled – and close to home.
“Aluminium packaging has an intrinsic value. The issue is encouraging consumers to recognise aluminium packaging as an extremely cost-effective material to recycle, through education and effective communications. In the UK, developing and stimulating the existing kerbside collection infrastructure is a great starting point, but consistency is essential – the public remains confused by the differing rules across local authorities. We must help them to do the right thing and recycle.”
Alupro manages several programmes funded by metal packaging manufacturers, reprocessors and leading brands, to encourage consumers to recycle more. MetalMatters focuses on improving metal capture rates in local authority recycling schemes; whilst Every Can Counts supports organisations wanting to enable people to recycle the beverage cans used outside the home.