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EU aluminium beverage can recycling hits 63%

Aluminium drinks can recycling has increased to 63% across the EU27, data from the European Aluminium Association (EAA) has found.

During the past two years, the recycling rate for aluminium cans has risen by 5.4%, going from 57.7% in 2006, to 61.8% in 2007 and reaching 63.1% in 2009.

Germany recycles the most cans, with a rate of 96% by using the Green Dot scheme, which means the product manufacturer contributes to the cost of recovery and recycling. The UK has a recycling rate of 51%, ranking 13th in the EU27. Meanwhile, Romania and Bulgaria’s recycling rate of 34% places them as the worst aluminium recyclers in the EU27 but they also use the Green Dot scheme.

EAA packaging group director Maarten Labberton said: “I am not suprised to see this increase as we have experienced during the past 20 years a solid annual growth of the recycling rates for aluminium packaging in general and aluminium beverage cans in particular.

“This is due to a combination of factors, such as a widespread and still growing awareness among the main stakeholders and the public of the need to collect and separate out household waste. We are confident that the recycling rate will further increase the next few years, providing our partners maintain and even increase their commitment to improve.”

The EAA believes that local authorities and waste management operators are becoming more aware of the high scrap value of well-sorted aluminium, which has led to rising investment in sorting and recycling technologies. Aluminium beverage can consumption increased from 32 billion in 2007 to 24 billion in 2008. Sales of filled aluminium beverage cans grew by 10% across western Europe, while central and eastern Europe increased by 3%.

Alupro executive director Rick Hindley commented: “Given the system we have in the UK, a 51% recycling rate is pretty good, and when the 2009 figures are published later this year they will show even more growth.”

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