The Circular Economy…

As awareness and concern for the environment increases, there is a growing interest and movement towards creating a Circular Economy – an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources. We are told that circularity is more than just recyclability, but the metal packaging industry is already at an advantage in helping to create more circularity in that much of what is produced can easily be sorted, recycled or reused. 

This week, APEAL has welcomed a report by the Environment Committee (ENVI) in the European Parliament, on the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) 2.0 communication. Designed to strengthen the economy as well as protect the environment and eliminate waste, it covers sectors including packaging and a permanent materials concept, focusing on the ability of a material to retain its inherent properties after recycling.

However, Alupro has indicated that a scheme which aims to increase recycling rates, improve recyclate quality and minimise litter, will have a negative effect on the aluminium industry. The company launched a report analysing the implications on the industry if the UK adopts a flat rate deposit return scheme (DRS) that is expected to come into force in 2023. Alupro says the findings revealed the scheme could pose a ‘real possibility’ of aluminium plant closures and a decrease in demand for beverage cans due to the increased cost to the consumer. It suggests that a fixed fee model would result in 10% lower return volumes in total than a variable rate system.

Despite all the sustainability efforts of various associations and companies, it’s not going to be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ and there is clearly still a very long way to go to before a truly Circular Economy can be achieved.

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