UK aluminium packaging recycling rates surpass 2020 target

Aluminium packaging recycling rates have surpassed 2020’s target, according to the UK Environment Agency.

The figures show that in the third quarter of 2020, more than 42,265 tonnes of aluminium packaging were collected for recycling – an increase of 41% compared to the same period in 2019 and 4% higher than the previous quarter (40,653).

To date in 2020, 119,198 tonnes of aluminium packaging have been collected for recycling – an increase of 48% compared to the same period in 2019.

With a net annual requirement of 113,390 tonnes, taking into consideration a 2019 carry-in of 7,746 tonnes, this means that aluminium packaging recycling rates have already exceeded 2020 targets by more than 5%, with two months to go.

Aluminium packaging collected through kerbside, bring and on-the-go systems totalled 78,685 tonnes (an increase of 28% compared to 2019), while tonnage recovered from incinerator bottom ash (IBA) more than doubled.

Rick Hindley, executive director at the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro), said: “The UK’s packaging recovery notes (PRN) data for Q3 shows an astonishing year-on-year increase among separately collected aluminium packaging, other local protocol fractions and aluminium packaging recovered from IBA.

“I’m delighted that rates have surpassed their target with [two] months of the year remaining.

“Following the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown in March and resulting spike in home working, it’s great to see the results of the nation’s continued commitment to recycling its aluminium packaging.

“This, alongside greater public awareness of the benefits of recycling, has combined to drive the highest aluminium packaging recycling rate ever reported.

“As we move into Q4, assuming volumes remain high and residents continue to consume at home rather than on-the-go, we could see recycling rates reach close to 70% for all aluminium packaging and more than 80% for aluminium beverage cans before the end of the year.”

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