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Boosting UK aluminium recycling could save millions


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Boosting UK aluminium recycling could save millions

  • Mar. 26,2019

Recycling International reported that UK could almost double the national aluminium recycling rates, says the think tank Green Alliance in a new report. It calculates that such an improvement would cut emissions and save EUR 50 million of wasted resources every year. Entitled ‘Closing the loop: four steps towards 100% aluminium packaging recycling’, the study assesses the government’s recent Resources and Waste Strategy and four accompanying consultations. It concludes that beefing up the strategy could drastically improve UK recycling rates for aluminium packaging and also as boost plastic packaging rates.
The latest data for 2017 shows that 51% of aluminium packaging is currently recycled. In the case of beverage cans, it is as much as 72%.
However, Green Alliance calculates that more than EUR 50 million of aluminium is being wasted each year. It laments the fact that the metal is one of the ‘easiest materials to repeatedly recycle’.
The report calculates that improvements to the government’s proposed reforms could reduce the amount of aluminium wasted from 49% to just 3%.
Specifically, Green Alliance is calling for targeted measures to boost the quality of aluminium waste streams and reduce contamination, which currently means higher costs and poorer quality materials for reuse. It argues the government should strengthen its plans for a deposit return scheme (DRS) for specific types of beverage packaging, by introducing an ‘all-in’ scheme, and improving kerbside collections.
The report also calls for improved kerbside collections to standardise the current ‘haphazard system’ and make sure valuable sources of aluminium, such as food cans and foil, are collected from homes nationwide.

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