UK aluminium recycling increased by 17% in 2019

A total of 116,670 tonnes of aluminium packaging were collected for recycling in the UK last year.

The latest figures released by the Environment Agency (EA) on 12 March show a 17% increase in aluminium recycling compared to 2018 figures, surpassing UK Government targets by more than 8,400 tonnes.

Aluminium packaging, including aerosols, collected through kerbside, bring and on-the-go systems increased by almost 21%, while tonnage recovered from incinerator bottom ash also increased slightly.

“I was delighted to read the EA data, which highlights another impressive rise in the volume of aluminium packaging collected and recycled across the UK,” said Rick Hindley, executive director at the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro). “Since 2010, the industry has experienced a steady increase (11%), which should be seen as a considerable achievement!

“Record rates suggest increased public awareness about the benefits of aluminium recycling and positive action towards improving resource efficiency. This highlights the importance of our behavioural change programmes – MetalMatters and Every Can Counts.

“Looking forward to the first two months of 2020, provisional data highlights a year-on-year increase of 52% (compared to the same period in 2019), with 19,371 tonnes of aluminium already collected for recycling. This, alongside a highly-positive carryover, puts the industry in an excellent position to surpass this year’s targets, which again increase by 3% (from 61% to 64%).”

Alupro recently commented on the rising price of packaging recycling notes (PRNs), claiming that a significant volume of PRNs were being raised but not issued, and causing prices to rise. However, Hindley now believes prices should stabilise. He said: “Consequently, under normal market conditions, we anticipate that PRN prices should begin to fall and return to a more realistic and sustainable level.

“It’s therefore essential that we continue to celebrate increasing recycling rates, while maintaining focus on achieving our ambition of close to 100% recycling across the UK.”

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