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Scrap metal cash ban 'could reduce can recycling'

A ban on cash in the scrap metal business could slash the recycling of drinks cans, a key organisation has warned.

The Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) said the government’s plan to clamp down on metal theft through new legislation would damage the can recycling industry.

Home secretary Theresa May has said the government will seek to ban cash transactions for scrap metal in an amendment to the Legal and Sentencing Bill.

The move is intended to make it harder for metal thieves to pass on their swag to legitimate metals recyclers.

But Alupro said in a statement: “An unintended consequence of the proposed ban on cash transactions for scrap metal would be to make cash-for-cans recycling activity illegal.

“Around the world, cash-for-cans programmes have played a key role in the aluminium recycling loop, and have helped to establish the aluminium drinks can as the world’s most recycled drinks package.”

One in 10 aluminium cans collected for recycling in the UK comes through cash-for-cans programmes run by about 300 scrap merchants.

“A complete cash ban could have a significant negative impact on the volumes of cans collected, reducing the recycling rate for drinks cans and removing a valuable income stream for charities and youth groups across the UK,” said Alupro.

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