Resource Use

Can recycling scheme focuses on retail centres


Retail centres across the UK are being encouraged to sign up to a national drinks can recycling programme to improve the industry’s sustainability credentials.

Every Can Counts –  a partnership between the European and UK drinks can manufacturers, the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and the aluminium and steel packaging and recycling industries – is a ‘recycling communications programme’ that aims to improve recycling rates for the drinks cans that people consume whilst at work or ‘on the go’.

The programme is now calling on retail centres to sign up to its free initiative in the hope of recycling some of the 2.7 billion cans that are consumed outside of the home every year.

Marketing materials

Registered outlets will be provided with branded recycling materials and assistance in promoting existing recycling facilities. The programme can also provide ‘marketing and communications support’ for recycling awareness campaigns such as Green Weeks.

Staff and customers at ten sites, including thecentre:mk in Milton Keynes, Atlantic Village in Devon, and Freshney Place in Grimsby, have already signed up to the programme, and will be implementing marketing strategies to encourage shoppers to recycle their drinks cans.

Messages will highlight the benefits of recycling cans, such as:

  • a drinks can is the most recycled drinks pack and can be back on the shelves in six weeks;
  • making cans from recycled materials saves as much as 95 per cent of the energy needed to make cans from virgin ores;
  • making cans from recycled materials cuts greenhouse gas emissions by up to 95 per cent;
  • drinks cans can be ‘endlessly recycled’; and
  • recycling one soft drinks can save enough energy to power a TV for three hours.

It is estimated that the ten sites alone could deliver the message of recycling to over 14,000 staff and over 89 million visitors.

‘Engaging’ with consumers

Rick Hindley, of Every Can Counts (and Executive Director of aluminium recycling company, Alupro), said: “Through partnerships with UK shopping centres we engage with two significant groups of consumers – those who work in the retail outlets and the shoppers - so it offers us a perfect opportunity to promote the fact that ‘Every Can Counts’ to a wide audience.

“We are keen to use our experience with participating centres to develop further projects with other retail sites in the future.”

Funding partners that have backed the scheme include Alupro, Novelis, Beverage Can Makers Europe, UK Canmakers, Red Bull and Carlsberg.

Earlier this year, Every Can Counts launched a six-month trial in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland, which saw can crushers branded with the Every Can Counts logo implemented at seven sites across Scotland.

Designed to crush and hold up to 700 aluminium and steel drinks cans at a time (five times more than a conventional recycling container), it is hoped the crushers will not only remind people to recycle their metal cans whilst away from home, but also increase the amount of metal collected.

Find out more about Every Can Counts or watch a video on the introduction of the programme to thecentre:mk in Milton Keynes.