Aluminium beverage can recycling reaches new record level

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The latest report by Metal Packaging Europe and European Aluminium shows that the overall recycling rate for aluminium beverage cans in the European Union, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland went up by 3.2% to a new record level of 76% (76.1%). The total amount of aluminium recycled from cans reached a record level of 570,000 tonnes, an increase of 60,000 tonnes on the previous year. This represents a total Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions saving of 4,7 million tonnes of CO2eq (equivalent to the annual amount of GHG produced by a European city of more than half a million inhabitants like Antwerp or Poznan.)

Beverage can manufacturers (members of Metal Packaging Europe) and their aluminium suppliers (members of European Aluminium) are pleased with the increased recycling rate at European level which is a testament to the ongoing industry and supply chain efforts to improve recycling. However, several EU Member States still struggle to reach 90% recycling or more. The industry supports more ambitious separate collection targets for beverage containers like aluminium beverage cans as referred to in the proposed EU Packaging Regulation.

“We are proud of the latest achievement and believe the industry is on the right path towards 100% circularity of aluminium beverage cans by 2050. Today, beverage cans are one of the most recycled packaging formats on the European market. Can manufacturers recently joined other industry leaders at COP 28 in a call to accelerate aluminium beverage can circularity and contribute to Net Zero 2050.’’ said Krassimira Kazahska, CEO of Metal Packaging Europe, adding that “Aluminium is a ‘permanent’ material which means that it can be recycled multiple times through high quality recycling processes without losing its inherent properties’’.

“We encourage Member States to implement well balanced Deposit Return Systems (DRS) as this will help move to a fully circular solution for the aluminium beverage can via ‘can-to-can’ recycling. Although used beverage cans (UBC’s) can easily be recycled into other aluminium products like automotive or bicycle parts, customers are increasingly looking for high recycled content in their new cans. We can do this, providing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes supply our remelting plants with sufficient quantities and qualityof separately collected and sorted UBC’s. Only DRS can guarantee this,”  according to Maarten Labberton, director, packaging group at European Aluminium.

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