Co-op campaigns for foil recycling to increase

UK supermarket Co-op has launched a campaign to prevent tonnes of aluminium getting unnecessarily sent to landfill over the Christmas period.

Research by the Co-op has revealed that more than one in five (22%) UK adults do not recycle household aluminium and it is estimated that over 3,000 tonnes could end up in landfill this Christmas.

Brits are expected to consume 378 million mince pies over the festive period, with around 378 tonnes of aluminium packaging used to bake and package the festive favourite. And almost a quarter of the aluminium packaging will not be recycled correctly. This is because shoppers unwittingly dispose of foil and aluminium products in general household waste when it can be recycled. However, the Co-op has found that one in five local authorities do not accept aluminium foil in their recycling schemes yet 81% of consumers said they would recycle aluminium if they could.

Each year it is estimated that an average household uses 144metres of kitchen wrapping foil (15,000 tonnes) and 182 foil containers (20,000 tonnes). Unfortunately, a fifth of this is unnecessarily going to landfill.

Co-op and Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) are urging all UK local authorities to accept the material along with food cans and glass bottle collections.

Currently 18% of local authorities do not accept aluminium foil, yet all of the councils have an aluminium food can and glass bottle collection in place. The process to collect aluminium foil is the same as these other materials at kerbside collection and if the foil has been rinsed out (just as we do with metal food cans), the packaging can be recycled.

Michael Fletcher, chief commercial officer at Co-op said: “How we do business really matters. The world is experiencing a climate crisis and we need to work together to avoid it. Accelerating action is the only way to mitigate and reduce impacts on our natural world, and to ensure stable food supply chains in the future.

“We are committed in helping our members and customers to make environmentally friendly choices and reducing the environmental impact of products is and always has been at the core of Co-op. That’s why we are writing to local authorities to encourage them to collect such simple items as part of collections they already have in place.”

Rick Hindley, executive director of Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) said: “We are delighted that Co-op is shining a light on the importance of recycling this valuable material.  So many festive food products are packaged in aluminium, and it is unthinkable that some of it may end up in the rubbish bin when it can be collected in kerbside recycling.  Aluminium is endlessly recyclable with no loss of quality, and most importantly, aluminium packaging placed in a recycling bin is always recycled because it is such a valuable material financially – it is real recycling in action.”

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