UK: Positive momentum in aluminium packaging recycling

UK: Positive momentum in aluminium packaging recycling

Sustainability

Recent data released by the Environment Agency (EA) on the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD) brings encouraging news for the recycling of aluminium packaging. The figures demonstrate a remarkable uplift compared to the recycling volumes recorded in 2022.

In the first quarter alone, a total of 40,478 tonnes of aluminium packaging were collected for recycling, showcasing a noteworthy year-on-year increase of 14% compared to 35,382 tonnes in the same period last year. Among this volume, 28,850 tonnes were actively recycled by consumers through various channels such as kerbside, bring, and on-the-go systems, marking a significant 14% rise from the previous year. Additionally, 11,323 tonnes were recovered from incinerator bottom ash (IBA), indicating an impressive 20% year-on-year increase.

The cumulative data for this year thus far reveals that a total of 60,621 tonnes of aluminium packaging have been successfully captured for recycling throughout the United Kingdom. This represents a commendable 13% increase when compared to the corresponding period in the previous year, which recorded 53,725 tonnes. These figures are particularly noteworthy considering the lower obligation across all material types, highlighting the continued progress in the field of aluminium packaging recycling.

The significant uplift in recycling volumes for aluminium packaging showcased by this latest data is an encouraging sign of the industry's commitment to sustainability and resource conservation. Such positive trends indicate that efforts to increase recycling rates and promote responsible waste management are yielding promising results, paving the way for a more environmentally conscious future.

Tom Giddings, executive director of Alupro, commented: The UK's latest PRN data shows an impressive increase when it comes to separately collected aluminium packaging, material recovered from IBA and other local protocol fractions. It's positive news indeed that PRNs issued to date this year are already well ahead of target.
While we can't guarantee that this pace will continue throughout the rest of 2023, with six months of the year – and the busy Christmas period – still to go, the feel is decidedly positive across the supply chain when it comes to outperforming 2022 figures.
We're still awaiting market data to be submitted by some companies, which once again suggests that enforcement needs to be better and system reform is critical. However, if recycling volumes continue to climb and the obligation remains stable once missing data has been entered, we could be on course for an impressive total tonnage for 2023.
Although some industry critics had suggested that the high recycling rates experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic were just a short-term trend, it's reassuring to see that impressive volumes have continued. This is, in part, due to changing consumer behaviours, driven by programmes such as Every Can Counts and MetalMatters.

About Alupro

Alupro is an industry-funded, not-for-profit organisation with over 30 years of experience representing the UK's aluminium packaging industry. The organisation works diligently to fulfill the industry's obligation to meet and surpass recycling targets for aluminium packaging.

Alupro achieves this goal by establishing partnerships with local authorities, the waste management industry, and the broader metal packaging sector. Together, they collaborate to enhance and expand the collection infrastructure for aluminium packaging across the UK. Additionally, Alupro assumes the responsibility of managing and executing consumer information and education campaigns that aim to foster active participation in recycling schemes.

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