Materials

2020 a record year for aluminium packaging recycling

Preliminary figures by the Environment Agency released earlier this week (11 January) suggest that aluminium packaging recycling peaked in 2020.

Reprocessors and exporters still have until the end of January to report their final annual tonnage, but data collected so far has already shown that 145,035 tonnes of aluminium packaging was collected for recycling in the UK in 2020.

Rick Hindley
Rick Hindley
The data came from the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD), revealing a 24 per cent increase from the 2019 data and a 26 per cent increase from the original target for the year.

The UK’s recycling rates in general improved last year but aluminium stood out by exceeding its commitment by a bigger percentage than other types of materials.

Rick Hindley, executive director at Alupro, commented: “Such an impressive increase is not only a direct impact of COVID-19 and the resulting national lockdowns, but also suggests increased public awareness about the widespread benefits of best practice aluminium recycling.

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we have continued to run our highly successful MetalMatters and Every Can Counts behavioural change programmes across multiple locations nationwide.

“Both have proven instrumental in engaging with householders about how quick, simple and beneficial it is to recycle aluminium packaging.

“Looking ahead to the first quarter of 2021, we predict the ongoing impact of COVID-19 (and ongoing lockdown restrictions) to drive continually high aluminium packaging recycling rates.

“However, in line with the predicted return to work and schools, it’s important that we switch our positive habits from kerbside to on-the-go systems – this will prove instrumental to not only meeting obligated targets for 2021, but also realising our ambition of 100 per cent recycling rates across the UK.”

Record levels of aluminium packaging recycling were recorded for the first time in July last year.

Alupro contributed significantly to increased public awareness of aluminium recycling in 2020, including its Christmas campaign and its sponsorship of the 2021 Student Starpack Awards.

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