Record-breaking volume of aluminium recycled in 2023

In 2023, 162,357 tonnes of aluminium packaging were recycled in the UK (68%), including more than four in five beverage cans (81%).

These figures have been published on the Environment Agency’s National Packaging Waste Database and break national records for aluminium recycling.

Kerbside recycling of aluminium has also increased by 13% year-on-year, with 115,382 tonnes in 2023 compared to 102,195 in 2022.

Aluminium packaging is highly recyclable and a sustainable option due to its lightweight volume, and ability to be recycled again and again without losing its quality. However, to achieve a fully circular, low-carbon supply chain, supportive policies are needed from across the industry.

Accelerating aluminium recycling

We are proud supporters of Alupro, an organisation working on behalf of the aluminium industry to maximise the recycling rates of aluminium packaging through public education, systems innovation and policy design.

We have previously collaborated with Alupro to financially support their ‘Every Can Counts’ campaign, and contributed to the development of their ‘Roadmap to increasing UK aerosol recycling’, a strategic vision developed by the Aerosol Recycling Working Group - a group led by Alupro, with representatives from the British Aerosols Manufacturing Association (BAMA) and other industry experts.

Commenting on the announcement, Tom Giddings, executive director of Alupro, said: “I’m delighted to announce record-breaking recycling volumes for 2023. While more aluminium packaging was placed on the domestic market than last year, it’s pleasing to see that recycling rates have more than kept up with pace.

“As an industry, we’ve been investing heavily in optimising our collection and recycling infrastructure for the past 20 years and we’re now reaping the rewards of this long-term commitment. Despite ongoing delays and uncertainty surrounding proposed changes to national recycling legislation, the sector is continuing to deliver over and above annual targets. 

Nigel Ransom, Head of Procurement at Ecosurety, commented: "For Ecosurety Members, Aluminium is a major material for our scheme.  We also support members in reviewing their packaging material choices, and Aluminium always features prominently in the eyes of the consumer. It was great to see high levels of recycling achieved in 2023 for this material - we look forward to seeing ongoing investment and further improvements in 2024".

The impact of EPR

Alupro has recently updated it’s manifesto, highlighting the positive progress made to date and includes developments surrounding the Simpler Recycling policy and a binary labelling system. The 2024 update also identifies where more progress is needed, addressing confusion around Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and the need for sector-specific innovation support.

Due to EPR regulations, producers will need to consider how to improve the recyclability of their aluminium packaging to avoid higher fees and higher compliance costs. If you’re an Ecosurety member and would like to find out more about the impacts of packaging EPR, visit our Ecosurety Hub knowledge articles for more information.

Written by Louise Shellard Published 21/05/2024 Topics Ecosurety
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