Resource Use

Alupro launches aerosol recycling initiative

Aluminium packaging recycling organisation Alupro has launched the ‘UK Aerosol Recycling Initiative’ in a bid to expand public awareness and uptake of aerosol recycling while increasing UK recycling rates.

AerosolsThrough the project, Alupro aims to ensure metal aerosol recyclability and viability ‘in a post-extended producer responsibility (EPR) and post-deposit return scheme (DRS) landscape’.

The organisation notes that metal recycles forever without any loss of quality, highlighting hopes for aerosol to become a central part of recycling behaviour.

The cross-industry initiative will bring together working group partners from across the value chain including Ball Aerosol Packaging, the British Aerosol Manufacturers’ Association (BAMA), Ecosurety, The Materials Processing Institute, Suez Recycling and Recovery UK, and Tandom Metallurgical Group Ltd.

A ‘three-phase approach’ will be introduced to educate consumers around best practice recycling, to establish a baseline recycling rate and roadmap for achieving higher future rates for aerosol recycling in the UK, and to seek a secure, long-term investment into recycling infrastructure.

This year, Alupro undertook sampling work, alongside independent environmental consultancy Resource Futures, to establish the baseline recycling rate for aerosols in the UK. Despite 95 per cent of councils offering aerosol recycling at kerbside, it was found that only 46 per cent of aerosols are correctly separated for recycling by consumers.

Previous endeavours to encourage consumers to recycle empty aerosol cans include Alupro’s launch of ‘The Lonely Aerosol’ – a pilot consumer engagement campaign.

Looking forward, the project's objective is to create a roadmap for a strategic approach in achieving higher aerosol recycling rates in the UK, including the development of new consumer resources.

Predrag Ozmo, head of sustainability at Ball Aerosol Packaging, commented: “We’re proud to have joined the UK Aerosols Recycling Initiative in partnership with Alupro. The programme will provide a unique platform from which consumer behavioural change and infrastructure improvements can be made.

“The project is pivotal in driving further improvements in recycling, addressing both consumer knowledge and the role of government and industry bodies. As a society, we have woken up to the fact that the old linear economic model is no longer working. The urgency and benefits of moving toward a circular economy are clear.

“True circularity involves the continuous recovery and reuse of materials, with nothing lost during the full circle. It is not enough for products to be recyclable – they need to be physically recycled in the real world.”

Robbie Staniforth, Innovation and policy director at Ecosurety, added: “We’re pleased to be involved in this cross-industry initiative. It is vital that we build upon the success of aluminium recycling in general by focusing on specific packaging formats.

“Many of the barriers preventing aerosols being recycled are well-known, what is less clear is how those barriers can be removed. This initiative will pave the way for achieving much higher recycling rates for aluminium packaging in future.”

Tom Giddings, executive director of Alupro, added: “Consistently, aerosols top WRAP’s annual list of confusing consumer packaging types in regard to recycling. As an industry, our goal is to exceed a 50 per cent aerosol recycling rate by 2030, making this initiative critical.

“This initiative will see us work closely with our partners to improve consumer behaviour and aerosol recycling infrastructure in the UK. These changes to the metal packaging industry will contribute not only towards a wider sustainable future but also allow us to take an important step towards a 100 per cent metal packaging recycling rate.

“This is just the start of this project; we have big plans for the future and we’re actively welcoming new partners who have an interest in maximising the recycling rate of aerosols.”