Record-breaking aluminium beverage can recycling

With at-home consumption increasing significantly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is not surprising to learn from Alupro that in the UK, aluminium beverage can recycling hit its highest ever rate in 2020 at 82%, representing a year-on-year increase of 6%.

This encouraging data was published earlier this month by the Environment Agency (EA). It revealed that more aluminium packaging was collected and recycled last year than in any other year on record. Packaging Recovery Notes (PRNs) were issued for a total of 151,515 tonnes, an increase of 31% compared to 2019 figures (115,808 tonnes).

The figures show that 106,047 tonnes of separately collected aluminium packaging was recorded in 2020 (compared to 89,543 in 2019), while the volume recovered from incinerator bottom ash (IBA) increased from 26,265 (2019) to 45,468 (2020) and 86% of the collected aluminium packaging was recycled within Europe.

Compared to other packaging materials, many of which saw recycling rates increase year-on-year, aluminium reported by far the greatest rise.

Rick Hindley, executive director at Alupro, said: “A sharp increase in the volume of separately collected aluminium packaging recovered at the kerbside is a clear reflection of changing consumer behaviours and increasing awareness of the benefits of recycling, while the rise in the volume of aluminium recovered from IBA can be attributed to a number of new companies approved to issue PRNs and the commissioning of several new UK energy recovery facilities.”

To access the 2020 recycling rates, visit the Environment Agency’s National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD) at:

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