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Aluminium packaging recycling reaches record levels

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A record amount of aluminium packaging was recycled in the UK in the second quarter of this year.

Data released by the Environment Agency on 22 July shows a record 40,653 tonnes of aluminium packaging were collected, indicating that a total of 76,933 tonnes were collected for recycling in the first half of 2020 – an increase of 52% compared to the same period in 2019.

Aluminium packaging collected through kerbside, bring and on-the-go systems increased by 37% during the first half of the year (53,312 in 2020 compared to 38,882 in 2019), while tonnage recovered from incinerator bottom ash (IBA) nearly doubled (23,621 in 2020, compared to 11,862 in 2019).

Rick Hindley, executive director at the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro), said: “The UK’s packaging recovery notes (PRN) data for Q2 shows a hugely impressive year-on-year increase in the volume of aluminium packaging collected for recycling.

“Alongside greater public awareness about the benefits of recycling, figures should be attributed to the COVID-19 lockdown and the resulting increase in household recycling volumes.

“Perhaps the most surprising statistic was the hike in aluminium packaging recovered from IBA, which rose by an astonishing 99% compared to the same period in 2019.”

According to Hindley, this could be the result of a boost in the number of IBA processors accredited for reprocessing and the number of energy-from-waste facilities opening, although it is waiting on further verification.

“With PRNs already raised for more than 76,000 tonnes of aluminium packaging in 2020, the future looks bright,” added Hindley. “While nothing is certain in this current climate, we are optimistic that, providing local authority collections continue to operate as normal, recycling rates will continue to rise and we will once again surpass annual targets.

“In fact, with 68% of this year’s obligation already achieved, it could be possible to realise recycling rates close to 80% for all aluminium packaging and 90% for aluminium beverage cans. Of course, this relies heavily on sustaining current rates throughout the rest of the year, PRN values remaining stable and no future disruptions to local authority collections.”




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