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Aluminium recycling rate improves

Aluminium packaging

The recycling rate for aluminium drinks cans in the UK reached 72% in 2017, a two percentage point increase on the 2016 position, Environment Agency data has shown. 

For all aluminium packaging, recycling reached 51%, a single point rise.

There was a 4% increase in the number of PRNs raised in 2017 at 94,092 tonnes against a 2016 level of 90,095 tonnes. More than 8,000 tonnes of aluminium PRNs were raised but not issued.

Aluminium industry body Alupro said that, as in previous years, the data showed some reprocessors/exporters ”chose not to become accredited or decided not to raise the maximum number of PRNs they could have done” because of the resulting low PRN prices. It added: ”This underlines Alupro’s support for reforms to the PRN system.”

It called for changes to ensure the system accurately records all aluminium packaging collected for recycling, that consumer behaviour change programmes are properly funded and that ‘real recycling’ is recognised and rewarded.

Alupro said figures showed that 51% of the overall total of aluminium packaging collected was recycled in the UK and 41% in continental Europe.

Executive director Rick Hindley said: “It is fantastic to see aluminium packaging recycling rates continuing to increase year on year. We must continue to increase awareness and understanding of what happens to used aluminium packaging when it is recycled.”

Hindley said the 92% rate for recycling in the UK or Europe figure should give the public confidence that aluminium was recycled and not otherwise disposed of.

But he called for action to make it easier for the public to participate in aluminium recycling.

“Developing and stimulating the existing kerbside collection infrastructure is a great starting point, but consistency is essential – the public remains confused by the differing rules across local authorities,” he said.


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