Drinks can recycling could be hit by next month’s scrap metal cash ban, an industry leader has warned.
Rick Hindley, executive director of the aluminium packaging recycling body Alupro, said there were serious concerns that the end of “cash for cans” schemes after 3 December could disrupt a key part of the industry’s recycling strategy.
Cans sold for cash account for around 3,000-4,000 tonnes a year of aluminium packaging recycling, around 5% of this year’s target.
Alupro “lobbied Government hard” for cans to be exempted as they are under cash bans in the United States, but the idea was rejected by ministers.
Hindley told the annual Alupro seminar in Birmingham the group was “very concerned” about the effects of the ban.
“Cash for cans has been at the heart of our recycling system for well over 20 years”, he said.
“We are already getting concerns from a number of cash for cans centres saying they really fear they could lose a significant number of customers.”
“Really, we don’t know the impact on our collection systems. But it is something we are watching carefully”, added Hindley.
Neil Woodall, commercial manager at Mason Metals in Dudley, told MRW the ban could make buying cans too expensive for merchants and put off small community groups who often sell collected cans for cash.
“For us as a business; do we want the expense of paying somebody such a small amount? What do we say when it’s going to cost a pound to pay them and they’ve only brought in three quid’s worth? Are we going to have to lose that customer who’s doing a good job for the environment? There is a big fear on our side about how we finance it”
During the Alpro event, Hindley told industry representatives that, following last week’s Q3 packaging recycling figures, the sector was on target to meet its 2012 obligation. He said there had been a 5% underlying growth in recycling of aluminium packaging.
• Meanwhile, resource management minister Lord de Mauley has given his support to Alupro’s Metal Matters campaign to support local authority metal packaging recycling. The minister was speaking as the industry-wide programme launched its “most ambitious” campaign yet, working with the 12 councils in the Kent Waste Partnership. De Mauley praised Metal Matters as a “great example of how industry and local authorities can work together to engage local communities, drive up recycling rates and also support further development of our waste management and recycling sectors”.