Aluminium packaging recycling rates continue to rise in the UK, with recent figures showing a 5% quarterly increase compared to the same period in 2020.
Data released by the Environment Agency (EA) shows that 47,857 tonnes of aluminium packaging were collected for recycling in Q2 2021 – up from 40,903 tonnes in Q2 2020.
So far this year, 84,704 tonnes have been collected in total – an increase of 7,650 tonnes compared to January-June 2020 – including more than 59,000 tonnes from kerbside, bring and on-the-go systems (up 11%), as well as around 23,000 tonnes recovered from incinerator bottom ash (up 7%).
Examples of aluminium packaging collected include food and drink cans, foil, aerosols, metal caps from glass bottles and jars, and yoghurt lids. Alupro recommends consumers use the ‘scrunch test’ to establish whether packaging is made from aluminium foil – if the packaging stays scrunched, it is most likely made of aluminium foil.
With a target of 66% and a carry-in of 8,326 tonnes, the sector is on track to once again surpass its collection goal and achieve a record-breaking recycling rate. According to the latest EA data, 67% of the annual target has already been achieved.
Tom Giddings, general manager of Alupro, said: “In 2020, the UK reached its highest ever rate for aluminium packaging recycling (68%), including an impressive 82% for aluminium beverage cans.
“With numerous national lockdowns, remote working and reduced commuting, home consumption increased significantly. This saw kerbside collection rates soar.
“It’s pleasing to see that, despite higher targets and a return to the workplace, the UK has maintained record-breaking rates. Indeed, we’re over two-thirds of the way to achieving our 2021 target at only halfway through the year.
“Such impressive figures can be attributed to greater public awareness about the benefits of aluminium recycling and positive action towards improving resource efficiency.
“While it’s difficult to predict trends for the rest of the year, we are optimistic that collection tonnages will continue to prove positive. As such, it’s important that we celebrate these successes while maintaining focus on our goal of achieving close to 100% aluminium recycling across the UK.”